From the CEO

The anticipation and media coverage has been building this week in the lead up to Premier Mark McGowan’s Skills Summit being held tomorrow. Chris Rodwell, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry hits the nail on the head in today’s West and reinforces UDIA WA’s consistent call for a Population Strategy for the State to quickly increase the volume of skilled workers across all industries coming to WA.

The reality is as Chris highlights, the days of sourcing workers from the East Coast have all but gone with demand for workers in NSW and Victoria just as high due to COVID driven infrastructure and construction investment. The McGowan Government has made great strides in investing in apprenticeship and traineeships to fill the pipeline, the challenge is this takes time – that we have run out of. Construction costs are rapidly rising in Perth as delays in delivering projects are becoming an increasing reality. We need a solution now, so I’m full of hope and optimism that the brains trust that gathers tomorrow, which I look forward to participating in, will hand the Premier a plan that is ready to roll.

Col Dutton and I met with Minister for Housing and Local Government, the Hon. John Carey MLA late last week to discuss housing supply constraints across the continuum and how our industry can work collaboratively with the public and not for profit sector in addressing the key challenges in this space. It’s clear that the Minister is rightly focused on quickly increasing the supply of public housing, as the public housing waitlist skips past the 17,000 mark. Identifying underutilised government land to get this kick-started is a key focus, although as the rest of our industry knows all too well – getting the boots on the ground to build it over the next 12-18 months is going to take some ‘out of the box’ thinking.

We also met with Dr David Honey MLA yesterday, Leader of the Liberal Party and the Hon. Neil Thomson MLC, Shadow Minister for Planning, Lands and Heritage to establish a constructive dialogue around future planning & development in WA. A strong government needs a strong opposition, and whilst we are a little away from that at the moment we must invest in ensuring the checks and balances are in place for the medium and longer term prosperity of our industry and our communities.

The team and I have been out and about this week judging the nominees in the 2021 UDIA WA Awards for Excellence. It’s shaping up to be another great year of showcasing the State’s best projects, and fingers crossed – we can all come together on 11 September to celebrate together – unmasked.

Finally, keep your eye out for our bi-annual Member Survey that will arrive in your Inbox in the next day. It only takes a few minutes of your time to complete, and the feedback is critical to reviewing our performance as an organisation and the value we deliver to you – our valued members.

Are you ready to make an IMPACT?

UDIA WA are excited to launch The Urbanist IMPACT FORUM, the most thought provocative urban development forum in the southern hemisphere and YOU can be part of it!

If you have an idea or concept that could fundamentally influence or change the way Perth evolves over the next 30 years, we want to hear from you!

8 thought provocateurs will join keynote speaker Holly Ransom in presenting their game changing concept as part of the inaugural The Urbanist IMPACT FORUM.

Submit your idea by COB Friday 13 August for your chance to change the future of Perth!

Those chosen will be offered exclusive coaching from TEDxPerth Head Speaker Coach and founder of Chatterbox Public Speaker Shil Shanghavi.

For more information, click here.

Nominated projects released

At the end of last week UDIA WA released our eagerly anticipated Nominated Projects booklets which includes all of the entrants for the 2021 Awards for Excellence.

Each year we are inundated with incredible options and this year looks to be no different as the 2021 entrants looked to have raised the bar once again!

Check out the Nominated Projects booklet here.

The winners and finalists will all be announced at the development industry’s night of nights, the 2021 Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner. Make sure you’re there to be part of the celebrations by booking, here.

Retention of negative gearing and CGT arrangements a boost for housing

This week UDIA National welcomed Federal Labor’s decision to leave existing negative gearing and capital gains tax arrangements untouched saying the decision was a shot in the arm for homebuyers, renters and the sector.

“The economy needs stimulus and certainty right now, so Labor’s decision to ditch its prior plans for negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts is correct,” UDIA National President Simon Basheer said.

“Full credit to the Opposition for being willing to adjust its policies and recognise that investors have a crucial role to play in sustaining the vast bulk of the nation’s rental market.

“The policy stability now on offer will be a boost to the housing and construction sector, which has been so crucial to sustaining Australian jobs and wages through the economic downturn from COVID-19.

“Negative gearing, was always a straw man in the debate about housing affordability, given no serious modelling showed its abolition would substantially drop house prices.

“It has been part of the tax system for over 100 years, so the idea it is responsible for any recent jump in house prices was well wide of the mark.

“Now that we have a consensus on the settings for negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount, the task should be to focus on real solutions that will fix housing affordability woes.

“Poor strategic planning, deficient land supply, inefficient planning systems and excessive state and local property taxes should be prioritised for reform.

“Ultimately, until we get a better balance between supply and demand and act to reduce the cost of new housing, the dream of home ownership will remain challenged.”

Perth recognised as Australia’s most affordable capital city

According to the latest Domain House Price Report, Perth has been named Australia’s most affordable capital city to buy a home in.

Despite recording a 1% quarter on quarter increase and a 12.3% year on year increase, Perth’s median price of $595,823 was nearly $15,000 below the next most affordable capital city in Darwin and over $30,000 lower than Adelaide as third most affordable.

Sydney topped the list as the least affordable capital city with a median price of $1,420,133, followed by Melbourne ($1,022,927) and Canberra ($1,015,833).

According to the report, Perth house prices reached a six year high during the June quarter, with house prices remaining $20,000 below the late-2014 peak but on track to surpass this early in 2022. For the first time in 28 years Perth is the most affordable city to purchase a house as prices rapidly rise across the other cities.

Unit prices bucked the trend and fell over the June quarter to $370,571. Due to a stronger performance in prior quarters, annually, unit prices made the steepest jump in 14 years, up 13.7%. But unit price recovery has been slower, remaining $51,000 below the mid-2014 high.

Further analysis by the report found buyer demand is elevated and conditions remain to support this. The June quarter was the busiest June quarter since 2014 for houses and units based on properties sold and the report suggested investors are returning as they seek Perth’s affordability factor, tight rental market and future capital growth prospects.

Ready to be seen by the key decision makers in the development industry?

UDIA WA’s flagship magazine The Urbanist provides an exceptional opportunity to be seen by the key decision makers in the development industry as well as local and state government stakeholders.

The Urbanist is industry’s thought leadership platform, delivering quality content on a quarterly basis direct to the offices of the most influential voices in Western Australia.

Printed on premium glossy paper, this 48-page magazine provides the ultimate space to showcase your incredible work, however spaces are limited for the upcoming September edition so book in now to avoid missing out.

To see the full range of options available, click here and contact us here to discuss packaging options combining all advertising opportunities or for further information.

Bushfire Framework Review update

The Bushfire Framework Review 2019 continues to progress.

Central to the review is the compilation of the State bushfire prone map by the CSIRO. This is extensive and complex work that involves the most advanced research and methodology available. For much of this year, the CSIRO’s work to produce the map has been subject to delays from competing national priorities that have required some reallocation of resources.

Despite the setbacks, work has commenced by the Bushfire Framework Review Working Group to validate and analyse the data inputs that will inform the map. The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage‘s Technical Working Group is also preparing for the next phase of work to review State Planning Policy 3.7 Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas, in line with the draft map when it becomes available.

Under a revised timeframe, the Bushfire Framework Review Working Group is expecting a first draft map in August 2021 and public consultation on the draft Bushfire Framework is anticipated for early 2022. The Department will continue to work with Commonwealth and State agencies to progress the Bushfire Framework Review to guide future planning and development in Western Australia.

WasteSorted grants open

Organisations can now apply for their share of more than $1.15 million to help reduce waste and increase material recovery as part of the WasteSorted grant program.

Administered by the Waste Authority, applications are assessed on a competitive basis and businesses, charitable recycling organisations, local governments, regional councils, peak industry bodies, not-for-profit organisations, and research and educational institutions are encouraged to apply.

Grants of up to $250,000 per project are available for infrastructure development and up to $50,000 per project for waste avoidance and resource recovery education programs.

Infrastructure funding in 2021-22 will prioritise projects that improve organics recycling, and construction and demolition waste recovery.

Funding for waste avoidance and resource recovery education will focus on materials including food and garden organics, construction and demolition waste, glass, metals, paper and cardboard, plastics, textiles and non-household hazardous waste.

For more information, click here.

Applications close at noon on Monday, September 13, 2021.

Ground breaks on first development approved under historic planning reforms

Since the introduction of the State Government’s significant development pathway, 11 projects worth more than $350 million have now been approved with sod turned onsite in South Perth this week on a $40 million 15-storey apartment tower.

Located on Parker Street the apartment development was designed with input from the owners of the site’s former townhouses to give residents an opportunity to age in place.

The temporary development assessment pathway through the Western Australian Planning Commission was established last year as part of the McGowan Government’s package of planning reforms to drive economic recovery by streamlining the assessment of shovel-ready, job-creating projects.

Construction will soon commence on two other significant developments – a $50 million LNG plant in Mt Magnet and the $32.5 million State Football Centre in Queens Park.

These projects will be followed by two residential aged care facilities, a student accommodation facility, a shopping centre and a hotel, creating local jobs during construction and in ongoing operations.

A further 10 applications are currently under assessment and discussions are also underway with another 28 proponents on a range of commercial, retail, residential, regional tourism and industrial projects.

Since opening last July, 70 proponents have expressed interest in the pathway demonstrating development industry need for the streamlined assessment process, particularly for complex projects.