From the CEO

As we close out November 2023 today and officially enter the silly season– I wanted to share with you three key observations I’ve made in summarising the last 12 months:

  1. It ain’t over till its over.
    Exhibit A – Medium Density Code.A prickly situation for incoming Minister Carey to tackle with diverse views around its application in particular to single residential R30 and below. He made a captain’s call and we will soon learn the final outcome, a fine balance between not hindering the volume of supply in a housing crisis and raising the design bar.
    Exhibit B – Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Legislation. No one I’ve spoken to anticipated a complete repeal after years of consultation and drafting of legislation that proved to be completely unworkable. Substantial amendments yes, but to rip up the Act and the dollars that went into crafting it was a bold move and one that UDIA was front and centre in demonstrating the unintended consequences of the overly complex approach.
    Exhibit C – POS Contributions for Built Form
    Still to play out, this tax on infill lay sleeping for the moment until tested in front of WAPC. Need and nexus have never been more far apart in the justification for this policy amendment and our advocacy on this is far from over.
  2. Less is usually more.
    Keep it simple stupid. Whether that be in communication, advocacy, strategy or policy. UDIA has been deliberate in its intent to focus on the few things that matter most for the majority of members. Our refreshed vision, mission and purpose is simple. Great places + housing choice = better lives. We tested it with you to see if we had it right, if it resonated and captured our ‘why’. The answer was a resounding ‘yes’.
  3. A week is a long time in politics.
    As we have seen just today with the resignation of Minister for Energy, the Hon. Bill Johnston MLA and more broadly with the sudden departure of Mark McGowan and the subsequent cabinet adjustments. Whilst a housing crisis is not an issue to play politics with, the reality is it will be front and centre as we head towards a State and Federal government election. Ensuring we engage across both the political and housing spectrum is key.

To those of you joining us at Rotto tomorrow to toast the year that was with a quokka or two, I look forward to raising a glass in recognition of your support and contribution towards delivering great places and housing choice for all.

UDIA welcomes new team member

UDIA WA are delighted to welcome Nijeeya (Jeeya) Renju to the team in the newly created role of Industry Education Officer.  This important role is focused on enhancing the Institute’s Professional Development opportunities for members.

Jeeya recently moved to Perth from New Zealand and brings over 15 years’ experience in delivering continuous improvement Learning & Development strategies and programs aligned with organisation goals, including for a large membership-based organisation.

Her experience includes LMS implementation and management, collaborating with SMEs to design and deliver new competency-based training courses, RTO administration, and course evaluation.

She has a Master of Commerce and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business (Human Resources); she is also a Certified Adult Education Trainer and Certified Workplace Assessor and Moderator – Apprenticeships and Vocational Training.

Jeeya will be attending our Rotto Beachside Bash tomorrow so please say hello!  We welcome Jeeya to both UDIA and to Perth.

A new look for EnviroDevelopment

This week UDIA were pleased to launch the all-new branding for our well respected EnviroDevelopment certification program.  The updated logo, element icons and colour scheme are an exciting change for the national program that has been running across Australia for 16 years.

The new, modern look provides a simplified layout for the logo and icons that aims to make the system easier for the industry and consumers alike to recognise and understand.

While the branding may have changed, the underlying integrity of the certification system remains, with developers able to certify their projects under six sustainability elements – community, ecosystem, energy, materials, waste and water.

For more information and to check out the new brand, head to the newly revamped EnviroDevelopment website, here.

Ministerial engagement on key issues

On Thursday morning, UDIA met with senior officials from both the Premier’s and Minister Johnston’s office to discuss the ongoing work with Western Power and the critical nature of the challenges currently faced.

As mentioned last week (here), UDIA and Western Power have been progressing on the actions set out at the Industry Roundtable however it was important to emphasise on a ministerial level, the importance of support from the Government in accelerating progress, including bonded DCR clearances which can assist in clearing the backlog and ensuring the timely titling for delivery of housing supply.  Both Offices provided assurances that they understand and appreciate the urgency of the situation and that addressing these friction points for the delivery of housing is a key priority.

On Thursday afternoon, UDIA met with Minister Ellery to discuss the Government’s consideration of mandatory inspections and other matters relating to the Building Confidence Report.  This included discussion around the importance of customer confidence, the robust processes and procedures the UDIA WA members already put into practice with respect to inspections during the construction process to ensure quality outcomes and a UDIA WA position statement developed in consultation with our Built Form Standing Advisory Group.  UDIA WA will continue to engage constructively with Government on this.

UDIA and DWER Roundtable

On Tuesday morning UDIA hosted a roundtable with senior leaders from the Department of Water and Environmental and Regulation. The UDIA Policy Team was joined by representatives from our membership including members of the Environment Committee and Council. It was a great opportunity to hear from DWER’s leadership as to what internal changes have been made over the past year, what is still to come and what this means for the development industry. It was excellent to brainstorm ideas with DWER as to what further changes and initiatives could be implemented to improve service delivery, outcomes for industry and the environment. We look forward to continuing to work with DWER collaboratively on these matters into the new year.

Infrastructure WA External Stakeholder Reference Group

On Monday morning, the Policy Team attended an IWA External Stakeholder Reference Group meeting. It was an opportunity to provide industry feedback on Infrastructure WA’s work as an independent body providing advice to government on infrastructure priorities and delivery in Western Australia. It was a valuable opportunity to understand more about what Infrastructure WA intends to achieve moving forward and to provide the development industry’s perspective on those plans.

Latest stats released

At the end of last week UDIA were pleased to release the latest Urban Intelligence report, our monthly economic and residential property market update.

This month’s report includes a feature article exploring heighted levels of investor activity and its impact on the land sales market performance across Perth by Executive Manager Research, Toby Adams, the latest Land Snapshot data, House and Land Settlement data and Economic trends, including building approvals and lending indicators.

Read the latest edition, here.

We would like to thank our Research Partners Landgate, Urbis and CoreLogic for their support in producing our research publications.

Access to home ownership a step closer for Australians under Help to Buy Scheme

This week UDIA welcomed the announcement by the Federal Minister for Housing that legislation has been introduced to give 40,000 families the ability to realise their home ownership dreams under the Help to Buy Scheme.

Under the Federal initiative, eligible homebuyers with a minimum 2% deposit, will get up to a 40% equity contribution towards a new home or a 30% contribution for an existing home and be able to take advantage of lower ongoing repayments.

States will need to pass their own legislation in order for the Help to Buy scheme to operate in their jurisdiction nationally from next year.

The Help to Buy Scheme comes on the heels of the expanded Home Guarantee Scheme designed to enable access to home ownership for 86,000 families and 13,000 households in regional areas.

The Government’s breadth of housing initiatives include the Housing Australia Future Fund for 40,000 affordable and social houses and the Housing Accord’s further 10,000 houses and the Social Housing Accelerator for 4,000 new social homes across Australia. These measures are a reassuring sign to industry that governments are working together to put in place as many levers as possible to give us the best chance of navigating a difficult housing environment.

“Federal, state and territory plans for accelerating planning approvals will also need to be fast tracked across the whole housing continuum along with the release of more development ready land to keep housing supply and affordability manageable,” said UDIA National President Col Dutton.

While there will always be more work to do to balance housing needs, UDIA is pleased to see these important steps being introduced to ensure home ownership measures are balanced by supply boosting initiatives to counter upward pressure on prices.

UDIA looks forward to working with Government to ensure housing initiatives continue to deliver access to homes for all Australians.

North Ellenbrook (East and West) District Structure Plan

The North Ellenbrook (East and West) District Structure Plans have been approved by the Western Australian Planning Commission as a strategic planning framework for further planning and investigation.

Draft Amendment 1 provides a long-term vision for urban development in the City of Swan, covering some 163 hectares of land, to ultimately accommodate up to 7,500 people.

The amendment facilitates planning investigations for the land, and will guide future land uses, coordination of major infrastructure, activity centres, regional distribution and the protection of environmental assets.

If you would like to make a submission to support, object or provide comment on the proposed amendment, please provide your feedback here.

Land tax relief for homeowners affected by construction delays

The Cook Government today introduced legislation into State Parliament that will provide land tax relief for eligible homeowners affected by construction delays.

The existing land tax residential construction exemptions provide an exemption of up to two assessment years for constructing or refurbishing a home.

Delays in the residential building industry mean many homeowners may need to pay land tax because their new homes were not completed within two years.

The Bill introduces two temporary exemptions for eligible homeowners who started building or refurbishing their homes between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2023:

A three-year exemption will apply for a home being constructed or refurbished if the owner does not also receive an existing exemption for their current home. The exemption can be extended for another year in limited exceptional circumstances, such as where the builder goes into liquidation.

A two-year exemption will apply for a new home that is being built or refurbished while the owner lives in their existing home. The exemption can be extended for another year in exceptional circumstances, such as material or labour shortages caused by market conditions.

Taxpayers who have already paid land tax, but are eligible for one of the new temporary exemptions, will be eligible for a refund of the tax paid.

More information about the proposed legislation is available here.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston steps down

The Hon. Bill Johnson, MLA Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Energy, Hydrogen Industry and Industrial Relations has announced he will step down from the WA Cabinet next week before retiring from politics at the 2025 election.

In a Statement released this afternoon Mr Johnston said by the time of the next election, he will have served WA Labor in a full-time role for more than 27 years.

“I think that is a long time for anyone, and certainly long enough for me,” he said.

There hasn’t been any word on who will take over for Mr Johnston’s portfolios with the outgoing Minister saying it is a job for caucus, however Premier Roger Cook will call  a special meeting of the Labor Caucus on Thursday, 7 December, to elect a new Cabinet Minister.

Climate change legislation introduced to Parliament

Earlier today the State Government introduced the Climate Change Bill 2023 to Parliament.

The legislation formalises several major climate action commitments, including a net zero emissions by 2050 target, and a requirement to develop strategies and plans to reduce emissions and enhance climate resilience.

The Bill will also strengthen accountability through a requirement for annual progress reporting to Parliament and the setting of interim targets.

It is also designed to provide a clear and consistent framework for action and long-term certainty that enhances investor and business confidence, and accelerates investment.

Building Approvals show Australia sliding further behind on housing targets.

Today’s Australian Bureau of Statistics release of Building Approvals show total dwelling approvals are 14% lower than 12 months ago and things will get much worse before they get better.

In addition, detached house approvals are down 13% on a rolling 12 month basis and are 9% lower than the long run average. This means we are going to build less than ever before, which pulls us further away from hitting the Government’s ambitious (and necessary) 1.2m housing target.

“The reality is that instead of unlocking land supply and fast-tracking approvals, we have less approvals than we did 12 months ago and this needs to be reversed as a priority,” said Col Dutton, UDIA National President.

“From an industry perspective it shows how urgently we need to see supply boosting measures across the board include accelerating approvals for all housing, increased development ready land and enabling infrastructure to help build our communities – this is what home owners across Australia are waiting for,” said Mr Dutton.

Read the full media release from UDIA National, here.

UDIA National Congress Speaker announcement: Dean Boxall

UDIA are pleased to announce Dean Boxall as the closing keynote speaker at the upcoming UDIA National Congress in Melbourne with his session Mind Fit, Match Fit.

Closing Congress with a bang, this session will leave you with the tools, motivation, and gold medal strategies you can take with you to keep you and your teams inspired.

Dean Boxall is passionate about what he does and is regarded as an elite coach in his field, training swimmers at both state, national and international levels, including the World Championships and Olympics. Dean has received numerous awards for his achievements.

Dean gained significant international notoriety in 2021 following the success of Ariarne Titmus representing Australia in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and particularly his reaction to Ariarne’s gold win in the 400m freestyle. Dean’s rise to prominence in the elite swimming world has seen him likened to coaching icon Laurie Lawrence.

Dean Boxall has been awarded back-to-back Australian Swimming Coaches And Teachers Association (ASCTA) Awards after being named the 2020 Australian Age and Youth Coach of the Year. He was also the 2019 Australian Coach Of The Year.

Book your ticket to Congress here but be quick as Early Bird prices end next week. Act fast to save $330 off your Congress Ticket.

Limited Accommodation for Congress dates still available. Secure these at the same time as booking your Congress and National Awards tickets.

UDIA National TV with Housing Australia

UDIA is pleased to offer members a special complimentary UDIA TV event to hear from Housing Australia, the independent national housing authority whose purpose is to improve housing outcomes by helping more Australians to access affordable, safe and secure housing.

Housing Australia’s role is supporting the delivery of 40,000 affordable and social dwellings over the next 5 years under the Federal Government’s National Housing Accord and Housing Australia Future Fund initiatives.

Our industry is a crucial lynchpin for driving the majority of projects.

Housing Australia’s Chief Credit Officer, Rowena Johnston will give you insights on how you can be a part of accelerating Australia’s housing agenda and a snapshot of HA’s strategy for boosting housing supply over the next decade.

Click here to book in for this complimentary online event on Friday 8 December.

Have your say on Future of Fremantle

The Future of Fremantle project is seeking feedback on an emerging vision and three economic and land use scenarios that explore possibilities for the future redevelopment of the Fremantle | Walyalup Inner Harbour port precinct.

The scenarios are designed to deliver on the project’s emerging vision and include exciting ideas for smart, sustainable and responsive urban development over the precinct’s 50-year planning horizon.

Ideas reflected in the scenarios were informed by two Place Design Forums, held over six days in August and September 2023, and involving more than 300 participants. The Forums rounded out more than six months of investigation and consultation to help shape a future vision for the Inner Harbour port precinct.

Feedback on the emerging vision and the three scenarios is open until Monday 15 January 2024.

An information pack, detailing the vision and main aspects of each scenario has been put together and can be found here along with the link to provide feedback through the online survey.

All views will be considered by the Future of Fremantle Planning Committee to help inform a final recommendation to the State Government in mid-2024.

Big Issue reaches 700 editions

The Big Issue is celebrating 700 editions of their magazine this fortnight and to mark the occasion they have released their first ever Social Impact report, which provides a look into the positive outcomes that engaging with The Big Issue creates for those involved with them.

The Big Issue is best known for the fortnightly street magazine, sold on street corners by vendors experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage. But The Big Issue also operates other social enterprises such as the Women’s Workforce, Community Street Soccer Program and The Big Issue Classroom.

Based on surveys from members of The Big Issue community in all these programs, assessing the benefits of working with The Big Issue in areas of income, routine, community and support, the report reveals:

  • 98% of participants have been able to care for themselves better
  • 97% of participants have improved-self confidence
  • 90% have made new friends
  • 88% have been able to eat better food
  • 87% have learned new skills
  • 85% have reduced their need for support from social services or charities

The report also found The Big Issue participants have collectively earned more than $40m since inception of the social enterprise.

To read the report in full, click here.

City of Subiaco Design Review Panel

The City of Subiaco is seeking expressions of interest for Design Review Panel membership for 2024-2026.

The City’s Panel of experts provides independent advice on development and planning proposals facilitating a high-quality design of the built environment.

Nominations are called for Panel members from persons who demonstrate a high level of expertise with appropriate qualifications and/or substantial experience in one or more of the following disciplines:

  • Architecture
  • Landscape architecture
  • Urban design
  • Heritage
  • Sustainability and environmental design
  • Services engineering
  • Accessibility
  • Transport planning
  • Planning
  • Public art
  • Civil and/or structural engineering

Nominations are also called for a Chairperson to administer the Panel. Local knowledge and/or experience in Subiaco is highly desirable.

Further information, including the Terms of Reference, is available on the Other Planning Matters page on the City’s website.

The nomination period is open from 8:00am, 27 November 2023 and closes 5:00pm, 6 January 2024. You can apply by sending your application to during this period.

Please contact should you have any queries regarding this matter.