UDIA In Action

A big focus in the UDIA WA office this week has been preparing for our last Industry Luncheon for 2020 where we will welcome over 530 guests for a luncheon with the Premier.

This has been one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year and not only will we be hearing from Mr 91% himself but UDIA WA will also launch our comprehensive State Election Campaign outlining our key recommendations for all political parties and candidates underpinned by the theme live, work and invest in WA.

We will also release the December edition of our quarterly magazine, The Urbanist tomorrow. This special State Election edition features commentary from the Premier, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti, Shadow Planning Minister Tjorn Sibma, Bernard Salt, Geoffrey Thomas, Professor Alan Duncan and many more.

Our committee meeting cycle continued this week with the Industry Workforce & Diversity Committee on Monday and earlier this afternoon we facilitated another meeting of the newly formed Built Form Advisory Group that generated a host of new action items that will now go to State Council for endorsement before we adopt them into our State Election Campaign.

WA economy outperforms other states

Recent figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have revealed the Western Australian economy grew by 1.4% in 2019-20.

This growth was the strongest of all Australian States, with real Gross State Product (GSP) growing to $292.3 billion, up $4.1 billion from 2018-19.

The ABS report also showed the national economy, measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), contracted by 0.3% and had it not been for WA’s contribution the national economy would have contracted by 0.6%.

WA’s domestic economy, measured by State Final Demand (SFD), grew by 0.9%, the only State to record growth in 2019-20.

The largest contributor to the expansion in the Western Australian economy was business investment, which grew by 9.4% – the first growth in seven years.

The next largest contributor growth was net exports, which grew by 2.4%.

The continued operation of the mining industry, including exports and construction activity, through COVID-19 has been particularly important to the State and national economies, with 4.9% growth in the sector in 2019-20.

Household consumption contracted by 2.4% in 2019-20, as a result of those sectors – including hotels, cafés and restaurants, and transport – most impacted by COVID-19 restrictions in the June quarter.

The hospitality sector has rebounded strongly since the lifting of restrictions, while the transport sector is expected to continue to be impacted by international travel restrictions.

Tinley launches new housing design

The State Government are testing market acceptance and saleability of a new approach to subdivision and housing design through a trial in Willagee, in a bid to remove the need for battle-axe subdivisions.

The Harriot Street homes in Willagee are the first side-by-side developments the Department of Communities has taken to market in place of traditional battle-axe subdivisions with both homes now under offer after being listed on the market three weeks ago from $515,000.

The innovative design offers generous backyards and equal street access, while also providing the opportunity to retain mature jacarandas at the Harriot Street development.

Both homes can be green-titled and the lot design has done away with the need for common property for vehicle access normally found on a battle-axe block.

The homes feature a secondary tandem parking bay which also provides excellent cross ventilation and flexibility in the use of the space. Sliding doors offer a secondary outdoor space if two car parking bays are not utilised.

The homes will suit young couples, young couples with kids or buyers looking to downsize.

JobKeeper saved at least 700,000 jobs according to new research

A new research paper released by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has revealed that 1 in 5 employees who received JobKeeper during the first four months of its release would not have remained within employment had the subsidy not been in place.

According to the paper 3.5million people received the payment between April and June 2020, which means at least 700,000 people remained in employment thanks to the stimulus measure. Without JobKeeper, the paper says employment would have fallen by twice as much as it did.

While the paper provides useful statistics, it should be noted the estimates only capture the effects of JobKeeper on those people who actually received the payment and and not the indirect channels through which the program may have affected employment (e.g. by supporting aggregate demand in the economy).

Also, because the paper concentrates on the first four months of the program, the focus is retrospective and short-term. The paper does not consider the effects from August onward (including JobKeeper 2.0), or whether the program was successful in reducing the scarring effects from prolonged unemployment.

For more information and to read the research paper in full, click here.

NSW looking to scrap stamp duty

New South Wales has revealed it is looking at major property tax reform by signaling its intent to remove stamp duty from the purchase of new house or land.

As revealed in the NSW State Budget last week, State Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the government has plans to commence a public consultation process to seek the community’s view on tax reform to reduce the upfront cost for buyers.

This will see the community asked if they want the stamp duty system overhauled and a smaller annual property tax instated.

The proposed model that will be put forward for consultation aims to:

  • Give people purchasing a property the choice between paying stamp duty up front or opting for the smaller annual property tax;
  • Enable people who opt-in to the system to also eliminate any land tax liability;
  • Ensure that the current property owners who are not buying or selling are not affected; and
  • Replace the current stamp duty concessions provided to first home buyers with a new grant.

The proposed model includes a property tax rate that would support and incentivise home ownership with a lower rate for owner-occupiers and higher rates for investors and commercial properties.

UDIA WA continues to advocate to the WA State Government about the need for property tax reform here and the need to refine our current system in order to improve housing affordability, facilitate people moving to more appropriate housing and attracting greater investment into the WA housing market to increase the supply of affordable rental accommodation.

Property tax reform is one of the key pillars of our State Election Campaign, wherein we are calling on both major parties to commit to a major review of property tax if they win power in March.

More specifically, in relation to Stamp Duty we would welcome a commitment to removing this inefficient tax that acts as a barrier to ‘right sizing’ in favour of a more equitable system.