From the CEO

The quality of the questions you ask have an enormous impact on every aspect of your life.

In advocacy, this could not be more critical when trying to understand the problem that the vast array of legislation and regulation is actually trying to solve. Clarity is essential when interpreting the sometimes misguided or impractical solutions to problems that may or may not even exist in reality.

This is has been at the front of my mind in the last week on two fronts. Firstly, the release of the Draft Operational Policy for Public Open Space contributions. What and whose problem is this policy actually trying to solve? The draft policy ‘has been prepared on the underlying principle that additional residential lots generate additional community demand for POS.’ Where is the evidence base to support that principle and how are you quantifying community demand? Demonstration of a need and nexus? The extra cash that local government will pocket will go towards what exactly and when?

To his credit, our newly minted Minister for Planning acted swiftly in response to our concerns and ruled out any changes that would add cost to the delivery of infill amidst a housing crisis. UDIA will ensure that is reflected in the final outcome.

Secondly, as the hysteria around the implementation of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act reaches fever pitch – we await clarification to an array of questions regarding the implementation that kicks off on 1 July. I was pleased to be invited by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to participate on the ACH implementation group today, to ensure our members concerns are heard and promptly addressed as we adapt to the new requirements over the next six months. Please share with me your experiences.

As I write, I am awaiting the final wording of the Statement of Regulatory Intent referenced today that will guide the compliance approach over the next 12 months for the ACH Act. Whilst the State Government will adopt an educative approach to compliance in the first year – they will only do so in relation to technical (low risk) breaches – and on the proviso that proponents have made, or are making genuine attempts to comply with the legislation. It is NOT a get out of jail free card. If there is damage to heritage in that period, you won’t escape the consequences.

As with any new regulation, the devil is the detail and the true impact remains unknown until it is in place. At what cost to rapidly deteriorating housing affordability? We will soon see.

UDIA WA hosts successful Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act Briefing

On Tuesday, UDIA WA were delighted to host a briefing for members providing detailed information on the implementation of the new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act (ACH) and what the new framework will mean for our industry.

Importantly, all key stakeholders participated in the session, including Whadjuk Aboriginal Corporation CEO David Collard, DPLH’s Ben Harvey, DevelopmentWA’s John Clifton and Partner at Clayton Utz Lucy O’Shea.  Professor Leonard Collard also conducted an engaging Welcome to Country to kick off event proceedings.

This briefing session was a follow-up to the sold-out breakfast event that UDIA WA hosted in April that included a broader overview of the new framework with presentations from Aboriginal Heritage Co-Chair Irene Stainton AO and other key stakeholders.

At both events there were extensive questions asked by attendees via the app and UDIA WA is committed to sourcing responses on all relevant questions that were not answered in the presentation and Q&A session from DPLH.  The first round of responses will be received within the next few days.

UDIA WA is focused on ensuring our members are armed with all the information they need and are well represented during the implementation process that commences this Saturday 1 July.

In that context, earlier today UDIA WA welcomed the establishment of an ‘Implementation Group’ that will assist with addressing potential issues in relation to the implementation of the new framework.

UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck has been appointed to the group, and UDIA WA has thanked the Minister, Aboriginal leaders and the DPLH team for the appointment and commitment to ongoing dialogue.

In order to ensure our members have access to detailed information that is directly relevant to the urban development industry, UDIA WA has curated A Developer’s Guide to the New Framework for protecting and managing Aboriginal Cultural Heritage, which can be accessed here. This document provides an overview of what the changes mean for our industry and is being continually updated as and when new information is provided, so make sure to keep checking back for updates.

We extend our thanks also to Engineers Australia for providing the venue and co-hosting the recent briefing event with us.

We will keep members updated on all progress related to the implementation of the new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act.

The Urbanist Live with Cameron Kusher

UDIA WA are pleased to release a new episode of our podcast The Urbanist LIVE featuring an exclusive conversation with REA Group Executive Director of Economic Research Cameron Kusher.

REA Group are a valued Research Partner of UDIA WA and Mr Kusher was in Perth recently to launch the first report curated exclusively for our members by REA titled The Western Australian Market: Data and Insights.

In this episode Mr Kusher talks to host UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck about the results from the report and what it means for the WA market moving forward.

REA’s Insights report is the first of what will be a regular quarterly report made available exclusively to our members here in WA and we really appreciate Cameron taking the time to talk through the findings and provide his insights.

You can listen to the latest episode here and the report, available only to UDIA WA members can be accessed here.

Draft Public Open Space Policy Update

Following UDIA WA’s advocacy on this important policy issue, we have welcomed this week’s announcement from Minister Carey on Public Open Space contributions.  The Minister has advised that:

  • Interim measures will be introduced for public open space contributions for infill development, while broader Public Open Space policy review is undertaken.
  • Amendments will be made to local government delegations to ensure the WAPC is the decision maker on any applications of public open space contributions for built strata development in Perth and the South West.
  • Government will not support any changes to the Public Open Space policy that add regulatory burden and cost to the delivery of infill projects.

We strongly support these actions.  Amidst the current housing crisis that is impacting Western Australia, we thank the Minister for his prompt response and for prioritising housing supply.

Since the release of the draft Policy on 9 June 2023, UDIA WA has been engaging with the Minister’s Office, DPLH and WAPC, including on the market realities of delivering diverse and affordable housing in the current conditions and with the systemic challenges faced by industry.

We have been clear that the Draft Operational Policy 2.3 – Planning for Public Open Space as it stands is a major threat to the viability of infill projects and longer-term housing affordability.  It is one of a myriad of policy and legislative changes, and multiple layers of costs, that seem to be being continually added to by Government which if implemented will result in many projects being unable to be realised.  This will impact the timely provision of desperately needed housing.

UDIA WA has consistently warned that infill development, particularly medium and high-density apartment projects are almost impossible to make stack up financially – very few new apartment projects have commenced in the last year or so, and it is not looking promising for the forward pipeline.

For more information read our Member Alert in full here.

State Planning Policy 4.2 Activity Centres

This week UDIA WA received a letter from WAPC Chairman David Caddy advising of the implementation of State Planning Policy 4.2 Activity Centres. The new policy will take effect on 3 July 2023 and replaces State Planning Policy 4.2 Activity Centres for Perth and Peel (2010) and Activity Centres Policy for Greater Bunbury (2012).

The new policy is intended to ensure planning, development and decision making adequately consider distribution, function, land use, access, and urban form for Activity Centres. SPP 4.2 encourages development and employment to be focused in and around Activity Centres, particularly those with train stations. The policy also promotes Activity Centre access by walking, cycling and public transport, reducing the use of private vehicles.

The updated policy aligns with the Government’s planning reform program, ensures coordinated land use and infrastructure planning, and provides an expanded Activity Centre function and hierarchy. SPP 4.2 supports the delivery of good design and design excellence, consistent with the Design WA suite of policies.

The new policy, implementation guidelines, and other supporting documents are available here.

Boardroom Lunch with Minister Whitby

UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck and UDIA WA President Col Dutton, together with JBS&G (Darren Walsh), were pleased to co-host a Boardroom Luncheon today with the Hon. Reece Whitby MLA, Minister for Environment; Climate Action; Racing and Gaming.

We discussed the Minister’s priorities as they relate to our industry, including the Sectorial Emissions Reduction Strategies, opportunities in the approach to streamlining green energy project approvals, work around the SAPPR alternative and the interaction with Federal EPBC reforms.

We delved into current challenges for industry relating environmental constraints on development-ready land supply and environmental assessment and approval processes and timeframes, with a strategic planning-led approach to environmental decision-making and greater coordination across government departments being key opportunities to facilitate housing supply.

We extend our thanks to the Minister for providing this opportunity to engage and collaborate with our members and to our co-hosts JBS&G for supporting the event.

HV Pool System Charge Change

Ongoing forecasts and reviews indicate upcoming refunds from the pool at a quantum that is expected to reduce the pool balance below the optimum target.

Following a recent HV Pool Governance committee meeting with an extensive review of the HV Pool data, it was collectively agreed that as of 1 June 2023, the high voltage subdivision System Charge has increased to $150/kVA.

Previously, the System Charge was $125/kVA, which had been in effect since 8 April 2022. UDIA WA and Western Power will continue to review charges and rates on a regular basis, to maintain an appropriate pace of reaching the optimum pool balance target.

Any project created on or after 1 June 2023, shall have the new rate applied. All existing active projects that have not yet had a quote issued, will also attract the new rate. Any project that has had a quote already issued, will attract the old applicable rate for the life of the project regardless of re-quote.

The System Charge Rate has also been updated via Western Power’s High Voltage pool policy page via the website: High voltage pool policy | Western Power.

Policy Team In Action

UDIA WA have been engaging with Minister Carey’s Office on several important policy matters, including the Public Open Space policy and the Medium Density Code implementation.

We welcomed the Minister’s announcement this week of interim measures around POS contributions for infill projects and the State Government’s position on not supporting changes that will add regulatory burden or cost.

On the MD Code, we have written to the Minister reiterating industry concerns in the context of R30 and the transitional arrangements.

Our recommendations for R30 provisions included:

  • Making the necessary adjustments and arrangements to remove R30 from the Code or at least removing single homes from the scope akin to apartments being removed at R80; or alternatively,
  • The Government works with UDIA WA and industry to undertake a detailed review of the R30 provisions within the MD Code, with a view to making amendments to address affordability concerns.

Further, we recommended the following changes be made as part of the transitional arrangements:

  • 1 September 2025 is the implementation date for all aspects of the Code, allowing time for the National Construction Codes to be resolved and for the MD Code to be reviewed in that context;
  • Live structure plans should be exempt from the Code; and
  • Sites titled before 1 September 2023 should be granted an exemption from the Code.

We continue to support the MD Code to facilitate quality medium density development, while preserving housing affordability, amenity and accessibility.

Last chance to go in the draw to win a table to a lunch

There is just one day left to go in the draw to win a table of 10 at one of our renowned Industry Luncheons.

We are once again offering an incentive for those who pay their UDIA WA membership in full by June 30, 2023, of a chance to win a table of ten to one of our renowned industry lunches valued at $1,845 inc gst *terms and conditions apply.

For more information, reach out to

UDIA WA Awards: Nominations set to close!

There is just 24 hours left to submit your nominations for the 2023 UDIA WA Awards for Excellence and to ensure your project is in the running to receive the recognition it deserves by winning one of industry’s most coveted prizes.

This year’s awards program features a variety of new and improved categories that encompass the entire development industry.

You can find out all the information about all of the categories this year as well as how to enter by clicking here. To start your entry, click here.

UDIA WA sleep out smashes fundraising target

Last week UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck, along with a UDIA WA Team made up of UDIA WA members and State Councillors participated in the annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

To date the team has raised just over $76,000, which will be used to support vital homelessness initiatives to assist people struggling with or at risk of homelessness. While the amount raised to date is an incredible achievement, every donation helps and can make a huge difference to people who need it most.

UDIA WA would like to thank everybody who has donated to date and to Tanya Steinbeck, Richard Pappas, Jane Bennett, Brenton Downing, Karl White and Andrew Roberts for taking part in this year’s sleepout.

If you would like to celebrate the team’s efforts and support them you can still donate here.

Young professionals’ chance to shine ends tomorrow!

Following back-to-back wins in the UDIA National Young Leaders Award, the platform has been set for the next young professional from WA to step up and showcase the incredible work they are doing in the industry by entering the 2023 UDIA WA Stockland Young Development Professional Award.

The winner of WA award not only goes forward to compete on the national stage but they also receive an incredible prize package including registration to the UDIA WA Professional Development course in 2024, a cash prize, and much more.

If you are a young professional having a big impact on the development industry or know someone who can continue our excellent reputation in this category, find out more information here. Start your entry here.

To find out more about the impact the Young Development Professional Award has had on industry, check out our exclusive article in the 50th Anniversary special edition of The Urbanist, here.

Time ticking to enter Women in Leadership Award

This is a final call for anyone looking to enter the 2023 UDIA WA Women in Leadership Award with nominations closing tomorrow.

Previous recipients include Tiffany Allen, Tamara Smith, Jane Bennett, Tamara Heng, Vivienne Edwards, Tanya Steinbeck and Tanya Trevisan.

To follow in the footsteps of some of these extremely influential leaders, click here for more information. Start your entry here.

Linda Allison announced as UDIA Victoria’s CEO

This week UDIA Victoria announced that Linda Allison has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of UDIA Victoria, after an extensive recruitment process.

Linda is an advocacy, communications and stakeholder engagement professional with more than 20 years of experience in the property, not for profit and corporate sectors.

Linda’s most recent role has been the Corporate Communications Lead at the Port of Melbourne – Australia’s largest container port, and prior to that led several key policy areas at the Property Council of Australia (Victoria) and has deep experience in taxation, planning and regulatory reform advocacy, promotion of diversity initiatives and curation of hallmark events.

Linda’s people centred approach and her passion for shaping cities will be a valuable asset to the UDIA team and our members.

On accepting the role, Linda said “I am so delighted and honoured to be appointed CEO of UDIA Victoria. This is truly a pivotal time for our industry as we grapple with challenging economic conditions and an affordability crisis like no other. I look forward to working closely with members to advocate for our industry, and to make a lasting, positive impact to provide more homes for Victorians for generations to come.”

Linda will join the team on 7 August.

Leadership changes announced at Taylor Burrell Barnett

Effective 1 July 2023, Samantha Thompson will assume the role of Managing Director, succeeding Lex Barnett, who will be stepping down from the partnership, into a newly created role of Practice Fellow.

Samantha will become the first female Managing Director in the firm’s 53 years.

Alongside the Managing Director appointment, the leadership changes also see Directors, Ben De Marchi and Rachel Chapman, consolidate their specialist areas with their roles changing to Director – Design and Director – Planning, respectively. This alignment signifies the continued focus of the firm on retaining its roots as a design-led firm who provides a depth of expertise across planning and urban design services.

Importantly, Lex Barnett will continue to play a key part in the business taking up the newly established role of Practice Fellow, continuing to be a mentor and project leader working with the team and clients alike.

In addition to the Partnership changes, a newly created General Manager position will be taken up by Joanne Tanzi, who joined the firm as a Principal of Business Development two years ago and has since transitioned into a key leader within the business. This will enable the business to focus on seizing new opportunities and delivering even greater value to its clients.