From the CEO

We have a crisis on our hands.

Move over COVID-19, our dire housing shortage has taken centre stage. Crises do not just appear out of nowhere, though are often the most extreme versions of things that happen all the time. In many cases, they can be anticipated and planned for.

Whilst some have been ringing the alarm bells for a while, many who don’t anticipate a crisis suffer from what they call “optimism bias”. These are often your ‘glass half full’ people, who are overly optimistic about the future. When you truly believe ‘there’s no problem here’, “confirmation bias” says that you will only seek out evidence that supports that point of view and ignore anything that contradicts your position.

Enter the role of government in determining which levers to pull to minimise the damage of systemic and long-term under-investment in housing. In a crisis, our leaders are taught to sound confident even when they themselves are uncertain. For some this evokes trust, though it often backfires when the projected confidence is disproven by failed initiatives that don’t contribute to solving the problem.

Failure is accepted as a learning opportunity, except when your livelihood is on the line. In high risk settings, we need high reliability organisations (public, private or NFP). A HRO has the potential to deliver catastrophic failure, however manage to roll-out almost error-free performance. These organisations focus attention on emergent problems and deploy the right set of resources to address those problems. They seek out potential crises, expect the unexpected and develop the capability to manage them.

If our current housing crisis can teach us anything, we need more decision makers whose glass is ‘half-empty’. We need to eliminate functional stupidity within organisations where we don’t question, miss the bigger picture and fail to consider the problem in its entirety and instead focus on the minutiae.

I’ll raise my glass to that.

Western Power engagement update: Land Development Process Review and early clearance for some existing projects

UDIA WA continues to work collaboratively with Western Power on behalf of industry.

Further to the update we provided last week regarding the Western Power Land Development Process Review, the next steps are:

  • Outcomes and draft recommendations to be presented to the UDIA WA Infrastructure Standing Advisory Group in early June;
  • Agreement and final Western Power approvals on any proposed changes;
  • Implementation plan to be developed in June-July 2023, which will include time horizons, to enable the changes to be appropriately managed by all impacted stakeholders.

At last week’s industry workshop for the Review, attendees nominated priorities for Western Power to explore immediate responses to:

  • Early clearance on existing projects;
  • Escalation process;
  • Regular updates; and
  • Technical assistance (Speak to an Engineering Expert & Spida access).

We are very pleased to advise that in response to early clearances on existing projects, as a once off solution to support industry in obtaining their clearances, Western Power has completed a preliminary review of all submitted Design Conformance Review’s (DCR) with a PC date within the next 3 months and can confirm:

  • 31 projects can be offered pre-DCR for clearance subject to a conditional approval on their quote, these will be provided to by the end of the week.
  • A further 20 projects that applicants have been identified as critical are not eligible for a pre-DCR, but a timeframe for DCR review of compliance will be provided by this Friday, 26 May.
  • The assessment for pre-DCR is risk based to ensure that WP meets its obligations under the Electricity (Network Safety) Regulations 2015, the Work Health and Safety Act 2020 and all other applicable legislation, regulations, industry standards and/or codes of practice.

We welcome and thank Western Power for taking this proactive approach to early clearances.  While it will not address everyone’s challenges, it demonstrates a clear commitment to addressing the issues faced by industry and will be a pressure release valve for so many of our members for the next quarter.

Early engagement with DWER on the SAPPR alternative

As many of you will know, the Strategic Assessment of the Perth and Peel Regions (SAPPR) has been a long-standing priority of UDIA WA’s to accommodate population growth and protect our environment. With the State Government abandoning the SAPPR in December 2022, there remains an urgent need for an improved strategic and planning-led approach to environmental decision making.

UDIA WA met with senior members of the team at DWER leading the scoping of Perth and Peel Regional Planning (the ‘SAPPR alternative’).  The work is still in the early stages and the team was receptive to hearing insights and ideas to improve consistency, transparency, and certainty for industry.

UDIA WA feedback included the need for it to:

  • Provide more certainty than the current ‘all amber’ situation around where development is and is not possible but that it should not unnecessarily constrain development, particularly given the housing crisis.  There needs to be recognition of the requirement for a balanced response to housing in infill and greenfield situations, providing supply across the continuum in response to the housing crisis and to accommodate our growing population.
  • Consider the Federal reforms context.
  • Consider significance and acceptability, and give clarity around expectations of avoidance, mitigation, and offsetting.
  • Consider a State government-lead macro level restoration plan.
  • Give a clearer picture of science base of cumulative impact for different communities and areas, and how that links into understanding of significance, and a grading system to guide land use and environmental outcomes, etc.
  • Build from the work done for the SAPPR, as well as UDIA’s DRP.

WIN 2 FREE TICKETS to the 2023 Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner

Start your award nomination before THURSDAY 1 JUNE to automatically go into the draw to WIN 2 COMPLIMENTARY TICKETS to our most prestigious event of the year, the 2023 UDIA WA Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner!

All users that start their submission in the online entry platform Awards Force before Thursday 1 June (including any that were already active) will automatically be entered into the draw to win 2 complimentary registrations to this year’s UDIA WA Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner in September (worth $768!). A winner will be chosen at random following the close of nominations on 30th June 2023.

This offer is only available to those nominating a project in one or more of the UDIA WA Awards for Excellence categories and does not include Women in Leadership & Young Development Professional awards.

To be eligible for entry into the draw, you must complete the following before 1 June 2023:

  1. Activate your Awards Force account
  2. Select your category
  3. Enter at least your project name that you intend to enter and company name

Any entries that do not go on to submit a finalised nomination by close of nominations on 30 June will be discounted from the draw.

Start your entry here. For more information on criteria, guidelines, glossary, tips & how to’s download the nominations kit here. 

50th anniversary magazine launch imminent

UDIA WA’s 50th anniversary commemorative edition of The Urbanist magazine will be officially launched to members at our State Conference next week.

This edition is a bumper 84-page special, featuring interviews with a variety of past presidents, life members, former Executive Directors and related industry figures as we look back over the last 50 years and UDIA WA’s impact on the industry.

Key contributors in this edition include:

  • Inaugural President Ross Mallett
  • Inaugural Vice President and WA’s first National President Peter Solomon
  • Former Presidents Ken Gilbert, Warwick Hemsley, Nick Perrignon, Graham McArthur and Cameron Shephard
  • Life Members Mike Best and Ray Stokes
  • The Hon. Rita Saffioti MLA Minister for Planning; Transport; Ports
  • The Hon. John Carey MLA Minister for Housing; Lands; Homelessness; Local Government
  • Jane Bennett
  • Ryan Hunter
  • And many more

Attendees at next week’s 50th Anniversary State Conference will get a first look at the new publication before a hard copy is mailed to all of our member contacts and a digital copy will be made available to all of our members.

To read previous editions of The Urbanist, click here.

Problem and Opportunity Statement for Karnup Station Precinct

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage has advised UDIA WA of the launch of a new Problem and Opportunity Statement (POS) for Karnup Station Precinct.

The POS is seeking responses from parties interested in constructing a new passenger train station and transit-oriented precinct in Karnup.

This opportunity is released under the WA Government’s Market-led Proposals Policy and is seeking innovative responses to drive integrated transport and land development outcomes. Further information on the POS is available on Tenders WA. Submissions close on 17 July 2023.

For more information, click here.

National Reconciliation Week next week

National Reconciliation Week 2023 takes place from Saturday 27 May to Saturday 3 June with a theme this year of Be a Voice for Generations.

The theme encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise.

For the work of generations past, and the benefit of generations future, act today for a more just, equitable and reconciled country for all.

National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

UDIA WA will be officially acknowledging the Week with our members through an On Country experience in Bunker Bay as part of our 50th Anniversary State Conference. If you are unable to join us for this event, click here to view the other events happening next week to recognise National Reconciliation Week 2023.

For more information about National Reconciliation Week, click here.

Young Professionals delve into the medium density design code

On Tuesday UDIA WA were pleased to host our latest Outlook Event which provided a Young Professionals perspective on the changes to the Medium Density Design Code.

The event included presentations from Stockland Development Manager Lachlan McCaffrey, Hames Sharley Senior Planner Georgia Young, MDC Architects Owner Matt Delroy-Carr and Parcel Property General Manager Jeremy Cordina with Hames Sharley Principal Planner Nicholas Temov MC’ing the event and facilitating the panel discussion at the end of the evening.

With the recent release of the State Government’s Medium Density Code set to reshape our city, in both an infill and greenfield context, providing our Young Professionals, the long-term users of the new code, with an opportunity to understand the changes in greater detail was an invaluable opportunity and we thank our speakers for their insight and knowledge.

Big thanks to our Outlook Partners Parcel Property and Cedar Woods Properties and to Hames Sharley for providing an ideal location to host the event.

To see images from the night, click here.

Help break the cycle of homelessness with UDIA WA

UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck will once again be heading up a UDIA WA team at the Vinnies CEO Sleepout on 22 June to raise much needed funds to help break the cycle of homelessness.

Last year the UDIA WA team raised in excess of $90,000 to support extremely worthy homelessness causes and the aim is to beat this target with an even bigger team this year.

This year, we are opening up our team to all members who want to join us and hopefully smash our 2022 total raised.

If you would like to join UDIA WA’s team this year, register here and join the UDIA WA team here.