From the CEO

Over the last two weeks I have had the opportunity to listen to keynote speeches from our Premier, the Federal Treasurer and earlier this week our Prime Minister.

Hot on the heels of the release of the Federal Government’s Intergenerational Report, all three were very clear and aligned on one important view. Over the next 40 years, WA is in the box seat to drive not only the global energy transition but the lions share of economic growth in this country. We are in a unique position to lead the world in responding to the greatest social, economic and environmental challenge in history. As the UN has stated, we have surpassed global warming. We are now facing global boiling and time is up.

Combined with our ageing population and a more fundamental shift to a services-based economy as a result, our tax base will shrink and the reliance on our youth to pay the price for policy decisions made now and in our recent past will be a heavy weight to bear for our children and grandchildren. The calls of major tax reform are growing louder by the day, in particular calls to increase the GST.

If we continue to do what we’ve always done, we will get what we’ve always got. Today that means unattainable housing for the majority on low to medium incomes, health & education systems in crisis, poor productivity and the cumulative impact on our health and wellbeing.

We knew two decades ago that our population profile was ageing and what the likely consequences were. Yet here we are with an aged care sector in crisis and the largest cohort of people requiring housing support being single women over the age of 50. We also knew the inconvenient truth of climate change highlighted by Al Gore back in 2006 but that was considered largely theatrics back then.

Reactive government policy needs to transition to zero faster than our carbon emissions. It needs to be replaced with proactive, forward looking and at times anticipatory policy that sees beyond getting re-elected and makes decisions in the best interests of our children’s children. Importantly, we need a community that supports the tough calls now for the sake of a better future. The challenge in that, is that we also need to band-aid over the bullet holes left by decades of inadequate action.

A very fine balance that requires the finest of political, industry & community leaders to strike. Both the iron just like our global temperature is hot. The time is now to change the game before we all lose. If we lead the way, WA will well and truly win.

Policy Team In Action

This week we held the Environment and Liveability Strategic Committees continuing to discuss and progress priority actions aligned with the UDIA WA 2023 Policy Priorities.

Key matters included:

  • Updates on the Environmental Assessment and Approvals Process Review work
  • Discussion on organisational reporting for carbon emissions
  • Discussions on next steps and advocacy avenues following the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act and Medium Density Codes decisions
  • Updates from the SAG chairs on the ongoing work of their groups

Federal Government Engagement

UDIA has had direct engagement with Federal Government representatives this week through a boardroom lunch with Maya Stuart-Fox, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, co-hosted by JBS&G.

This lunch gave UDIA an excellent opportunity to engage on ongoing Federal environmental reform pieces. Topics discussed included the ongoing EPBC reforms and the Federal Nature Positive Plan as well as strategic offsets.

Guidance for Structure Plans

This week the Western Australian Planning Commission notified UDIA WA that following the endorsement of the WA Planning Manual – Guidance for Structure Plans in July 2023, the Guidance is now published, replacing the WAPC’s Structure Plan Framework (2015) and the Interim Manner and Form for Precinct Plans (2020), previously in effect.

The Guidance can be found here.

The Guidance for Structure Plans applies to precinct and standard structure plans and addresses the following matters:

  • the need for and purpose of a structure plan;
  • guiding principles and steps in preparing a structure plan;
  • the WAPC’s endorsed manner and form (template);
  • information required to be provided within a structure plan; and
  • supporting templates for preparing and assessing a structure plan

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage will also be providing online information sessions on the following dates where an overview of the guidance document and an opportunity for questions will be provided:

Stakeholder Group Date / Time  Venue
All stakeholders (external to DPLH) Tuesday, 12 September – 11am Via Zoom (link to be provided)
All stakeholders (external to DPLH) Thursday, 14 September – 3pm Via Zoom (link to be provided)

The draft Guidance was subject to broad consultation, during September – November 2022. Reform Delivery has analysed the feedback received from stakeholders and prepared a Consultation Outcomes Report identifying the type of amendments and refinements that have since been made to the guidance document. The Report will be made publicly available in due course.

For any further information or clarification in the meantime, you can contact Planning Reform at

Introducing the 2023 Awards for Excellence judges!

UDIA WA’s Awards for Excellence nominees are assessed by an esteemed panel of judges with extensive industry experience.  This year is no exception with two new faces joining our head judge Gail McGowan.

Well known property industry stalwarts Lex Barnett of Taylor Burrell Barnett and former UDIA WA President Paul Lakey have stepped up to the plate this year to form a dynamic trio of knowledge and expertise to review all the fantastic nominations.

Here is a chance to get to know our judges a little better in the lead up to the gala dinner on 16 September when the winners will be unveiled.

Appointed head judge this year, Gail McGowan, former Director General at the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, is well respected by industry and government stakeholders alike. Gail spent more than seven years heading up the WA Planning Department before taking semi-retirement in 2021 and has since been appointed to several boards across WA including as Commissioner of the Shire of Donnybrook Ballingup, Chairperson of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority and Chancellor at Murdoch University.

An impressive portfolio of responsibilities mean that Gail brings a broad perspective when assessing the nominated projects and she is well known for posing the tough questions during site visits!

Joining Gail for the first time this year, Lex Barnett recently took a step back from his position as Managing Director of Taylor Burrell Barnett to take on a new role of Practice Fellow. With over 40 years’ experience as a planner, Lex is well-placed to provide his knowledge in judging what makes an award-winning project.

Lex has been involved with UDIA, including as a member of several committees and working groups, over many years and we are thrilled to have his knowledge extend now to the awards program.

Former UDIA WA President Paul Lakey, who recently started his own consultancy business – Lakey Management – rounds out an impressive judging trio. Prior to starting his own business, Paul spent over 13 years in senior management at PEET and completed terms as a DevelopmentWA Board Member.  Paul has been involved in several iconic development projects and brings valuable practical insights from a developer’s perspective to the judging team.

We are extremely thankful to these three industry icons for bringing their own unique perspectives to the decision-making process this year as they travelled the length and breadth of the Perth Metropolitan Region and the South West to judge this year’s Awards.

With the judging process now complete, the only thing left to do is look ahead to the Gala Dinner in just over 2 weeks time. Make sure you are there to celebrate with us and the judges on Saturday 16 September by registering here.  Be quick as registrations close on Friday 8 September.

Witchcliffe Ecovillage Site Tour

UDIA WA are delighted to present an exclusive site tour of the Witchcliffe Ecovillage nestled in the breathtaking Margaret River region of Western Australia’s South West.

Experience firsthand one of the world’s most sustainable residential communities that stands as a testament to ecological harmony and forward-thinking design.

Learn directly from the team behind Witchcliffe Ecovillage on how they have utilised state-of-the-art renewable technologies, regenerative agriculture practices, and passive solar and low carbon building techniques. There are several innovative lot and housing typologies showcased within the project that delegates can learn more about including Groupie lots, Micro Clusters and a cohousing site for seniors.

The development is self-sufficient in renewable energy for households and electric vehicles, rainwater and fresh food produce and has attracted residents who are motivated to reduce their carbon footprint, slow down and live a more meaningful life without compromising comfort, privacy, amenity or affordability.

Led by co-founder Mike Hulme, delegates on this tour will gain greater insight into how to create a thriving social community that is inclusive, well-connected and resilient.

Registration includes a detailed tour of the project followed by networking drinks at the Margaret River Brewhouse.

Register for this event, here.

DevelopmentWA Board bolstered with new appointment

This week it was announced that Len Kosova has been appointed to the DevelopmentWA Board.

Mr Kosova has more than 25 years local government experience across metropolitan and regional WA. His roles included the chief executive officer at the City of Vincent and Planning Director at the City of Wanneroo, City of Gosnells and Shire of Mundaring.

Since January 2019, Mr Kosova has been a Member of the Western Australian Planning Commission’s Statutory Planning Committee; and Executive, Finance and Property Committee. In August 2019, he was appointed by the State Government to serve as a Commissioner at the City of Perth, a role he held until the new Council was elected in October 2020.

Mr Kosova is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and the Planning Institute of Australia and holds a degree in Urban and Regional Planning.

Mr Kosova will replace outgoing Board Member Ms Dale Page. Chair of the DevelopmentWA Board, Darren Cooper, has been reappointed for a further two years.

UDIA WA congratulates Mr Kosova on his appointment to the board and to Mr Cooper on his reappointment as Chair.

Member Briefing with CoreLogic

UDIA WA are pleased to offer our members an exclusive property market update in collaboration with CoreLogic Australia at our upcoming Member Briefing on 7 September.  Property Market expert Tim Lawless (Executive Research Director of CoreLogic’s Asia-Pacific research division) will provide a detailed overview of the current trends across the Western Australian property market, and his expectations for the next twelve months.

This event is only available and free of charge for UDIA WA members and will tackle all the important questions including:

  • When will Perth’s median property pricing finally start forging closer to the major capitals on the East Coast?
  • How will the retraction in the forward construction pipeline impact on pricing and rents across Perth and the Regions?
  • How does the down-turn in WA’s apartment and medium density sector compare with historical and national trends?
  • And many more.

For more information and to register for the member-exclusive event, click here.

We extend our thanks to Research Partner CoreLogic Australia for providing these exclusive insights to members.

Shelter WA Symposium

UDIA WA are proud to be supporting the Community Housing Organisations (CHO) Symposium hosted by Shelter WA on Tuesday 19th September 2023. The event brings together stakeholders from the community housing, government and private sectors, to showcase the community housing industry in Western Australia.

The Innovation in Community Housing Showcase in the morning will highlight the existing achievements of the sector through presentations putting the spotlight on innovation in areas including energy efficiency, diversity and tenant engagement within the sector.

The afternoon ‘Commonwealth Funding Ready’ session will bring industry, government, the community housing sector and other key stakeholders together to identify areas of reform in systemic policy and brainstorm solutions to best leverage upcoming Commonwealth Funding for WA and attract further investment.

Professionals who are working in Community Housing, the Homelessness sector, government representatives (local, state and federal) and sector allies such as developers and builders should all attend this event.

Ticket price includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.

Ticket sales for the full day event close 4 pm Saturday 9th September.

For more information and to book your tickets visit here.