From the CEO

As the deadline approaches for submissions on Phase 2 of Planning Reform, we have seen yet another example of why reform is needed this week. The City of Subiaco Council voted to engage lawyers to see if the City can seek a Supreme Court order to quash a decision made by the JDAP to approve a development application in Shenton Park. This is against the City Officer’s advice who has quite rightly pointed out that just because you don’t agree with the decision, doesn’t mean that the DAP made an error of law in making the call.

This could prove to be a very expensive exercise for the City that may not change the outcome. This combative approach by some local councils to planning decisions that are aiming to deliver high quality infill development in strategic locations is unhelpful, costly and disregards the extensive approvals process that developers must navigate to get a project off the ground. Community consultation is a key component of that process that all developers must commit to and lets not forget that many local residents end up purchasing properties in these developments.

UDIA WA are now finalising our submission for Phase 2 Planning Reform which aims to address governance, structural and operational issues with an overarching theme. True change in this space is about leadership and culture, a topic of much discussion at yesterday’s UDIA WA Council meeting. It was also a theme today when we met with the newly appointed Director General of the Department of Water & Environmental Regulation, Michelle Andrews. As an agency, DWER now have the key responsibility for climate action in addition to their policy and regulatory functions which presents a range of opportunities and challenges for the new leader.

Demonstrating the level of support and engagement from our members, we have received 13 nominations for eight vacant positions on UDIA WA Council – so we are going to a General Election! Member representatives with voting rights will receive ballot instructions on Monday with voting closing in mid-September. This is a chance for our members to play their part in shaping the leadership of UDIA WA at a time when the window of opportunity for real change is wide open.

Community housing grants

This week the State Government announced $92.8 million would be made available to assist with the delivery of safe and secure housing through the community housing grants program.

The grants will be delivered under the Social Housing Economic Recovery Package (SHERP) and include $46.5 million for refurbishments of community housing and supported accommodation dwellings, along with $33 million to construct new community housing dwellings.

An additional $13.3 million has been allocated for housing maintenance works in remote Aboriginal communities.

The grants application process opens on September 1, 2021.

Refurbishment grants will be open to community housing organisations with an existing service agreement with the Department of Communities, as well as local government authorities.

Grants for refurbishments will be awarded from December 2021 with all projects requiring completion by December 2024.

Construction grants will be open to registered community housing organisations and local government authorities. Grants will be awarded to successful applicants from January 2022 with projects requiring completion by December 2024.

The remote Aboriginal community maintenance grants will only be made available to remote Aboriginal communities. Grants will be awarded from December 2021 with housing maintenance works to be completed by December 2022.

For more information about the grants, visit here.

Parking the issue

This afternoon UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck was interviewed by Channel 7 ahead of a broadcast tonight looking at the issues surrounding parking near school sites following the move by the City of Canning to strengthen controls over kerbside parking around busy schools.

During the interview Tanya was asked for her thoughts on the issue including any potential solutions to alleviate the number of vehicles parking near schools, especially in infill areas where space is at a premium.

Interestingly, in the recently launched WA State Infrastructure Strategy it is noted that walking and cycling to school has declined from 75 per cent in the 1980s to just 20 per cent in 2021.  That is a very concerning statistic and an issue that will no doubt require further attention moving forward.

Public transport connectivity, along with a focus on facilitating greater active transport modes such as walking and cycling, will need to be a priority as more people move into established areas and greater pressure is put on existing schools and infrastructure.

Tune in to Channel 7 News tonight to view this segment.

InfrastructureWA stakeholder meeting social and affordable housing

UDIA representatives attended an InfrastructureWA stakeholder meeting on Monday to discuss the strategy’s actions covering social and affordable housing and to highlight any potential gaps.

At the meeting UDIA reiterated the importance of ensuring that the government’s taxation and policy settings support industry in being able to supply affordable housing to the market to avoid placing additional pressures on social housing.

UDIA looks forward to further collaboration with InfrastructureWA and the actions outlined in the strategy.

Just two spaces left!

With just two advertising spaces remaining in the upcoming edition of UDIA WA’s thought leadership platform, The Urbanist magazine, now is the time to make sure you align your brand with excellence!

The upcoming edition is taking a deep dive into sustainability and environmental issues, including how the development industry is taking climate action.  The edition will also feature discussions with pre-eminent leaders including an in-depth interview with the Minister for Environment and Climate Action the Hon. Amber-Jade Sanderson.

Secure your place alongside excellence today by emailing

WA economy surge

The latest edition of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA’s (CCIWA) Outlook Report revealed WA’s economy has broken through pre-COVID projections and is positioned to grow at its fastest pace in almost 10 years.

The biannual report, released this week, shows WA has bounced back from COVID and is positioned to continue expanding into the next financial year.

Following the initial detrimental impacts on the economy by the pandemic, the economy has recovered to a predicted 3.5% growth rate in 2021-22, which if achieved would be the fastest growth rate in the domestic economy since 2012-13.

Importantly, the report shows that the size of the State’s economy has not only surpassed pre-pandemic levels but is now higher than the State Government forecasted it would be before COVID hit.

While the future is looking positive according to the predictions in the report, the current skills shortage will continue to have an impact on any projected growth unless it is adequately addressed.

In our recent State Budget Submission UDIA called for the State Government to develop a Population Strategy that maps out a sustainable plan for population growth post pandemic and into the longer-term. We also called for funding to be allocated to facilitate and expedite a quarantine facility in WA, which we were pleased to welcome last week.

House buying top of the tree for millennials

Recent research from Bankwest has revealed the volume of home-related savings goals, including deposit targets and renovation funds, doubled across every generation over the past year.

Analysing data from more than 100,000 entries into the savings goal feature of its app, Bankwest found travel was close to the top goal category for all age groups this time last year, accounting for a quarter of all goals.

But 12 months on, it was the only category to experience a decline in the proportion of goals, down to 18.7%, suggesting that expectations of heading abroad continue to decline.

Over the past year, the volume of home-related savings goals (which could include saving for a home loan deposit for aspiring home buyers as well as renovation funds for existing home owners) has doubled across generations, according to the research.

Home-related goals increased by 120% across all generations, and by 144% among Baby Boomers (aged between 54 and 73), 139% among Gen X (aged between 39 and 53), 129% among Millennials (aged between 23 and 38), and 100% among Gen Z (aged between 14 and 22).

Meanwhile, saving for a home has taken priority among Millennials, with 21% of the cohort saving for a home, with this figure at 15% among Gen Z, 14% among Gen X, and 9% among the Baby Boomers.

Across the generations, 16.7% of Western Australians were saving for a home in August 2021, up from 15.% in August 2020.

Great opportunity to join the team

UDIA WA are on the look out for a new member to join the team as Member Services Officer.

The new role is responsible for providing a diverse range of administrative support services to the UDIA team and members across policy, communications and business development functions.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Comprehensive administrative support to the team across all areas of the organisation
  • Member relationship coordination, administration and response
  • Coordination & administration of UDIA WA Committees and policy working groups.

For more information and to apply, click here.

Delivering Thriving Neighbourhoods – Guiding the creation of liveable communities

UDIA’s next industry event is focused on the next stage of the WA State Government’s Design WA initiative which will include a revision and update of the Liveable Neighbourhoods operational policy.

UDIA is taking the opportunity to get on the front foot and look at what the review will cover and how industry would like to see the updated policy address the creation of thriving communities where people can live, work and play.

The review is needed given the increased focus on ‘living local’ in the context of COVID-19 and growing awareness around climate change. Concepts such as the 15-minute city and the 20-minute neighbourhood are quickly gaining momentum as the pandemic forges deeper connections to home and shifts consumer focus from global to hyper-local.

How could these concepts potentially influence the Liveable Neighbourhoods review process and what else should we expect from the review?

Join us for a deep dive discussion into:

  • The Liveable Neighbourhoods review process
  • Unpacking 15 minute city and 20 minute neighbourhood concepts
  • Delivering high quality, connected and vibrant local neighbourhoods

For more information and to register, click here.

Government releases homelessness Inquiry final report

Earlier this month the Commonwealth Government’s House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs released the final report of the ‘Inquiry into homelessness in Australia’.

The Inquiry released a list of 35 recommendations targeted at preventing and addressing homelessness in Australia. In particular, the Inquiry recommends the establishment of a ten-year national strategy on homelessness.

While state and territory governments are primarily responsible for housing and homelessness, the evidence presented a clear and consistent need for a national approach that would lead to more cohesive policies, better coordination and more accountability, particularly in relation to the use of Australian Government funding.

A national strategy could also recognise and harness the important roles of local governments, community organisations and the private sector in preventing and addressing homelessness.

The Inquiry identified three main areas for reform:

  • prevention and early intervention represent the most effective and cost-efficient measures to address homelessness.
  • the principle of ‘Housing First’ should guide all Australian governments’ responses to homelessness. This means that housing should be made available to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness as an immediate priority, and a base from which their other support needs can be addressed.
  • new approaches are needed to address the shortfall in social and affordable housing. The Committee identified ways in which the Australian Government can work with state, territory and local governments, as well as community housing providers and other private sector investors, to increase the availability of social and affordable housing for those who need it most.