Policy Priorities 2020 released

At the State Conference this morning, UDIA WA launched our newly released Policy Priorities 2020 that details the focus of our advocacy efforts over the next 12 months.

The UDIA WA Council and Executive has concentrated on delivering a policy platform for the year ahead that clearly outlines practical and tangible recommendations for government across three focus areas:

  1. Economy
  2. Environment
  3. Liveability

In establishing these focus areas we are clearly outlining the issues that matter most to our industry, with five key priorities underpinning each focus area providing a detailed set of actions that we can track progress on throughout the year.

The urban development industry is dedicated to developing great places to live, work and prosper, and our policy platform provides the framework to facilitate that. We are future focused, considering how industry, government and the community can work together to make a difference for generations to come.

To view the Policy Priorities 2020, click here.

Modern Methods of Housing Construction Report Released

On Wednesday, UDIA WA released a report that outlines a cost benefit analysis undertaken by Ernst and Young (EY) of modern methods of construction compared with double brick construction.

The report suggests people in Western Australia are likely to see a lot more diversity in their housing product emerging over the coming years thanks to the long term economic benefits of increasing the use of ‘modern methods’ of housing construction in the Perth market.

‘Modern methods of construction’ refers primarily to the use of timber or steel frame with cladding as opposed to the traditional double brick construction which is the dominant product we tend to see across WA.

Download the full report to read the cost analysis in detail and find UDIA WA’s associated recommendations, here.

State Conference underway

Yesterday afternoon UDIA WA’s Annual Development Conference kicked off for 2020 with an immersive experience for delegates as Aboriginal Noongar Leader Shaun Nannup led a welcome to country on the beach including a cultural talk, smoking ceremony and didgeridoo.

This welcome to country was a key part of the theme for this year’s conference, which is ‘connecting to place’ and this theme will filter through the entire event.

Starting bright and early this morning Barrie Barton, Strategy & Insights Director at Right Angle Studio delivered an engaging and thought-provoking keynote speech on Resilient Cities & Future Proofing Development.

Among the various sessions today, there were a number of highlights including Alix Rhodes who flew in from her position as Executive Director Outer Melbourne at the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) to provide guidance and knowledge on planning reform from the VPA.

Late this afternoon and heading into the evening Planning Minister Rita Saffioti will be delivering The State of the State Address before engaging in a question and answer session with Housing Minister Peter Tinley after he has provided information on the State Government’s new Housing Strategy for the next 10 years.

A sunset cocktail function will round out day two ahead of a final day bursting with information, where Neighbourlytics Founder & CEO Jessica Christiansen-Franks will be one of the highlights as she discusses ‘The Software of Place’, showcasing how to understand demographics to create a sense of place.

UDIA would like to extend its thanks to conference sponsors DevelopmentWA, Lendlease, Department of Communities and Taylor Burrell Barnett.

WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt to step aside

The Western Australian political world was surprised this week following WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt’s announcement that he will not contest his seat of Victoria Park at the next election.

Having been first elected at the Victoria Park by-election in March 2006, Mr Wyatt has been a consistent figure in the WA political system, most recently rising to the role of Treasurer and Minister for Finance, Aboriginal Affairs and Lands.

Premier Mark McGowan released a statement where he congratulated Mr Wyatt on his achievements, particularly in the last three years since WA Labor formed Government in 2017.

“Under his stewardship he has turned the State’s finances around, and helped get Western Australia back on track,” Premier McGowan said.

“We inherited record deficits and record debt, and a domestic economy in recession.

“In just three years, we have sorted out the mess, by returning the Budget to surplus, having debt declining and the economy growing again.

“Ben’s contribution to the WA Labor Party and the State of Western Australia has been extremely significant, he has made his mark and he can be very proud.”

On a personal level, Premier McGowan said Mr Wyatt has been a close sounding board for him and would be missed beyond the next election.

Mr Wyatt will remain in position and continue to lead the Western Australian Government finances until the next election with completing the Budget process for 2020-21 one of his biggest priorities.

There has been no official announcement over who will replace Mr Wyatt, should Labor get re-elected next year but UDIA WA will continue to work with whoever takes on the role and advocate on behalf of our members.

UDIA Submission: Schedule 1 of the Environmental Protection Regulations 1987 and the Landfill Waste Classification and Waste Definitions

Last Friday UDIA WA delivered a submission to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson in relation to Schedule 1 of the Environmental Protection Regulations 1987 and the Landfill Waste Classification and Waste Definitions.

Within the submission UDIA said it was essential that waste management legislation remains contemporary and supportive of best practice to enable the delivery of the best possible environmental, social and economic outcomes. As such, UDIA was and remains supportive of the regulatory amendments made following the Eclipse Decision.

The feedback UDIA received in creating this submission was all fairly consistent with it indicating that whilst the regulatory amendments appear to have been largely effective in addressing the uncertainty around the requirement for a licence or liability for the waste levy, the amendments have not resolved uncertainty regarding legal liabilities for accepting material that has been handled or stored at a licenced premise.

As a result, developers are reluctant to accept material that has not been tested in accordance with uncontaminated fill guidelines, the cost of which has prohibited the use of low risk material.

The submission ended with an acknowledgement from UDIA that further waste reforms are underway and we appreciate the resource and time commitment required to achieve effective reforms. However, these reforms are vital to providing the development industry with the confidence to use fit for purpose material in the development of land and ensuring that material does not unnecessarily end up in landfill.

To read the submission in full click here.

Restoring duty concession for strata titles subdivisions

On Wednesday, it was announced that amendments will be introduced into State Parliament to ensure transfer duty relief will continue for Western Australians who subdivide their property using a strata titles scheme and there is no change in land ownership.

The amendments follow a State Administrative Tribunal decision in February 2019 that changed how duty applied to these transactions.

The amendments to the Duties Act 2008 and Duties Regulations 2008 will address the unfair outcomes of the decision.

Transfer duty relief has always applied to strata subdivisions if there is no change in land ownership following subdivision. Without corrective action, a duty liability may be incurred by landowners completing these transactions.

Other amendments will ensure duty continues to apply to strata subdivisions involving a change in land ownership. These changes will apply from the date the strata titles reforms come into operation, which are currently proposed to commence on May 1, 2020.

Further information about these changes is available here.

Lavan Strata Developer Workshop

In preparation for the New Strata Titles Act, which will commence on 1 May 2020, Lavan are holding a Strata Developer Workshop to provide practical tips on how to comply with the new seller disclosure requirements.

Within the workshop there will be examples of the new types of notifiable variations; the new avoidance regime; and what to update in your sales contracts to comply with the New Act. Case Studies will demonstrate how two disclosure regimes will apply to current projects; and the impact of the new duties imposed on Developers.

Led by Lavan Partner Tim Morgan and Special Counsel Sean Macfarlane, the workshop will provide practical advice on what Developers need to do under the New Strata Titles Act.

Please note this Workshop is only for developers.

The event is being held on Friday 20 March from 4-5pm followed by drinks from 5pm onwards at Lavan, Level 20, 1 William Street, Perth.

For those interested in attending, click here to RSVP or email brooke.tucker@lavan.com.au for more information.

Western Australia secures a record number of priority projects

The latest list of priority infrastructure proposals by Infrastructure Australia includes 23 Western Australian-based projects and initiatives, a record-number for the state.

Among the new nationally significant proposals listed is the Regional Road Safety Program which has been deemed as a high priority initiative by Infrastructure Australia.

This program would not only create jobs but would also help reduce the number of single vehicle regional road crashes, save lives and prevent serious injury on WA’s country roads.

The number of projects listed as ‘nationally significant’ showcases the importance of a variety of infrastructure projects ongoing or set to take place in Western Australia. Two projects that were added to the list in 2018, METRONET’s Yanchep Rail Extension and the Thornlie-Cockburn Link – have now moved into the delivery phase.

Lessons from the Leaders

Last Thursday saw the first Outlook UDIA event for 2020 take place with 10 of the most influential leaders within the development industry providing their knowledge and wisdom to the emerging generation of development professionals.

The event featured ten leaders (Tanya Steinbeck, Avril Thomson, Col Dutton, Frank Marra, David Hillam, Greg Rowe, Tamara Heng, Tamara Smith, Paul Spadanuda and Jeremy Cordina) taking turns to sit at a table of emerging professionals to answer their questions and pass on any guidance they might have.

The night was very popular for those who attended, whether they were providing the advice or receiving it and UDIA is pleased to have been able to facilitate such a great networking opportunity.

We extend our thanks to the leaders that provided their time and experience on the night and to our Outlook Partners Cedar Woods and Now Living.

To view images from the event, click here.

State’s Government Architect term concludes

Last Friday the State Government announced Western Australia’s State Government Architect Geoff Warn will complete his term in the role this week.

Having held the position since 2013, Mr Warn leaves the position at the end of an extended contract having been instrumental in the establishment of the State Design Review Panel.

The Office of the Government Architect under Mr Warn’s leadership has successfully collaborated with other Government agencies to develop and promote inspiring design policies, guidelines or objectives. The Design Review Guide – developed as part of the State Government’s Design WA initiative – will provide a lasting legacy of Mr Warn’s tenure as Government Architect.

WA Planning Commission Chairman David Caddy will serve as the interim Chair of the State Design Review Panel until a new permanent appointment is made.

WAPC Urban Growth Monitor – 11th edition now available

The 11th edition of the Western Australian Planning Commission’s Urban Growth Monitor has been released.

The Urban Growth Monitor reports on several key stages of the land supply process, however, its primary focus is the availability of land zoned for urban development.

This edition of the Urban Growth Monitor presents information relating to zoned land supply calculated as at 31 December 2018.

In 2018, there was a net gain of 2,710 hectares of land zoned for urban development across the Perth Metropolitan, Peel and Greater Bunbury Region schemes. It found that based on historical land consumption rates, it would take approximately 33 years to fully consumer the stock of undeveloped land zoned for urban development in the Perth metropolitan and Peel regions.

This estimate based on the stock of land zoned for urban development as at 31 December 2018. It does not account for potential changes to the stock of undeveloped urban and urban deferred zoned land through rezonings or environmental requirements identified as part of future State and Commonwealth environmental approvals.

For more information or to view the edition in full, click here.

Australian Building Codes Board – feedback sought

The Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) relating to the proposed changes in National Construction Code (NCC) Amendment 1 has been made available for public consultation.

The RIS relating to the development of Performance Solutions examines a proposal that seeks to mandate the process in the Australian Building Codes Board’s (ABCB) ‘Development of Performance Solutions’ guideline to ensure that all building and plumbing Performance Solutions are developed and documented using an appropriate, nationally-consistent process.

It focuses on analysing the marginal impacts of changing current practice for assessing and documenting Performance Solutions, as well as the administrative burden.

Responses to questions on the Consultation RIS, outlined in the consultation form, are invited until 11:59PM AEDT Sunday 22 March 2020 and UDIA will put forward a submission, should we receive relevant feedback from members.

For more information click here or email policy@udiawa.com.au to provide feedback.

WA employment figures down on last month but up on last year

January 2020 saw WA’s unemployment rate increase 109 basis points (bps) month-on-month (MoM) to sit at 6.4% (5.8% seasonally adjusted).

Despite this rise on December’s figures, 6.4% is 104bps lower than at January 2019, although the WA unemployment rate was 66bps higher than the national rate of 5.7%.

The number of employed persons in WA fell 1.2% MoM to 1.349 million, but was 2.0% higher year-on-year (YoY).

We value your feedback!

UDIA is currently working on several submissions on behalf of members. We encourage you to forward any feedback on these items to policy@udiawa.com.au

  • Building Code 2016 Discussion Paper (here). Submissions close 3 April 2020.
  • Waste Reform consultation papers (here). Submissions close May 15 2020:
    • Closing the loop: Waste reforms for a circular economy
    • Review of the waste levy