Strata Reform legislation edges closer

UDIA’s industry breakfast on Wednesday featured presentations from the Hon. Rita Saffioti MLA and Senior Lawyer from Landgate Sean Macfarlane on the imminent introduction of Strata Reform and Community Title legislation to WA Parliament.  With the legislation expected to be introduced to Parliament in a matter of weeks, WA is on the precipice of the most significant strata title reform to property law in 30 years.

Minister Saffioti said in her presentation that Strata Reform is part of a broader suite of state government reform including planning reform, the establishment of Infrastructure WA and the Industrial Lands Authority, Land Agency reform and taxi reform.

The government is a supporter of increased mixed use precinct development and creating vibrancy in new and urban infill areas.  The Minister acknowledged that strata reform may help address some of the challenges in delivering more affordable high density housing, housing diversity, and access to renewable energy.

Sean Macfarlane’s presentation provided a comprehensive overview of the legislation. With strata reform including:

  • Introduction of two new forms of land ownership (Community Schemes and Leasehold Schemes)
  • Provision of more flexibility for staged subdivisions
  • Improvements to strata management practices
  • Simplification of dispute resolution processes
  • Improvements in information regarding strata schemes for buyers
  • Implementation of rigorous safeguarding measures for the termination of schemes

UDIA is supportive of the new legislation and believe it has the potential to change the way we can deliver mixed use and other forms of strata developments in WA. We now hope for the smooth passage of the legislation through both houses of parliament this year.

As the reforms were initiated by the former Liberal government and the McGowan government has continued the work, we are hopeful the opposition will support the legislation when introduced into Parliament.

For more information on the reforms visit the Landgate website here.

See UDIA’s media release on the issue here.

Thank you to sponsors of the Industry Breakfast including CLE Town Planning + Design, LandCorp, PEXA and Strata Community Association WA.

Labor tops up ‘fair share’ fund – but WA still losing out

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten visited WA this week and announced that Federal Labor would add an extra $400 million to the already promised $1.6 billion ‘Fair Share for WA’ fund that is aimed at lifting WA’s GST share. This funding would be on top of agreeing to match the Turnbull government’s recent budget commitment of $3.2 billion in infrastructure funding.

UDIA WA has responded, stating that WA is still falling far behind the eastern states when it comes to our fair share of federal funding, particularly for major infrastructure projects. Recent research by the Commonwealth Bank shows that of the projected $195 billion that the federal government is expected to spend on transport infrastructure out to 2026, just 2% will go to Perth projects. That figure is despite the fact that Perth is expected to receive a 19% share of population growth in the same period.

UDIA has advised that we need to ensure our road and rail network has the capacity and efficiency to support significant growth in the coming 20 years and beyond.

UDIA meets DWER Executive

UDIA’s President, CEO and Committee Chairs met with Mike Rowe, Director General of the Department of Water and Environment Regulation (DWER) and members of his executive team this week to discuss a range of water and environment issues.  Discussions focussed on: the use of fit for purpose water and improving government support for innovative water recycling initiatives; the impact of recent resource cuts at the Department on response times for various applications; the need to review and streamline approvals processes; the potential opportunity for the Department to outsource some processes and investigations to expert consultants; and the Peel Harvey Catchment and wetlands.

Specific issues included ground water, dewatering, acid sulphate soils, contaminated sites, clearing permits and EPA approvals.

There were several actions that arose from the meeting and DWER committed to ongoing engagement with UDIA as it seeks to resolve the concerns raised.

Planning reform green paper: explained

Independent Reviewer Evan Jones presented to UDIA Members last Thursday evening, outlining the recommendations in the green paper entitled Modernising Western Australia’s Planning System: Green paper concepts for a strategically-led system. The paper is currently out for comment and feedback will be taken into consideration in the lead up to the release of a White Paper in the coming months.

Mr Jones also attended a special meeting of UDIA State Council on Tuesday to discuss the policy recommendations in more detail and what was required for implementation.

Key reform proposals include making strategic planning the cornerstone of the planning system; making the planning system easy to access and understand; opening up the planning system and increasing community engagement in planning; making the planning system well-organised and more efficient; refocusing the planning system to deliver quality urban infill.

UDIA will be making a comprehensive submission on the Green Paper on behalf of members and more details can be found here.  If you would like to provide comment to inform UDIA’s submission, please forward feedback to

What next for PMH site?

UDIA was asked by ABC News this week to comment on what we thought could happen to the now empty Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) site.  With patients finally moving across to the new Perth Children’s Hospital, PMH will be decommissioned and then handed over to the Department of Lands.

UDIA President Nick Allingame advised that the site could be valued at over $100 million and poses a once in a generation opportunity to develop it into something that benefits the broader community.  At 25,000 square metres there are a range of options for the site including commercial, residential, public amenity and more.

There are a number of current examples of successful hospital site redevelopments including the old Royal Adelaide Hospital, the former Gold Coast Hospital site at Southport and the old Marickville Hospital in the Western Suburbs of Sydney. All of these provide excellent examples of what can be achieved in a site that is well serviced by public transport and located in close proximity to the CBD.

Latest ABS data reveals continued WA slowdown

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows that WA’s housing finance commitments were down 1.2% for the month of April 2018.  The value of commitments was also down by 3%.

Unemployment figures provide a slightly more positive picture as the unemployment rate fell by 0.1% to sit at 6.4% (still the highest in the country apart from Tasmania).  Despite this figure, WA experienced the largest decrease in employment, down 1900 people and the participation rate also decreased 0.2% to 65.7.

More details here.

Swan Valley planning review report – for comment

An independent review into the Swan Valley planning framework has been released by the state government for public comment.  The review, led by former state government minister John Kobelke, includes a range of recommendations regarding the future of land use planning for the region.

Recommendations include the creation of a new Swan Valley Planning Act; a Swan Valley Planning Scheme, and new land use zones. Beyond planning recommendations, the report also makes a range or recommendations around the right to farm, supporting tourism, land tax exemptions for wineries and improving the differential rating system.

UDIA will consider making a submission to the review based on feedback received by members.  Please forward any comment you would like included to by 30 June 2018.

More information and the full report can be downloaded here.

RBA: any rate increase ‘some time away’

It looks like rates are on hold for the foreseeable future, given that at a speech entitled Productivity, Wages and Prosperity on 13 June in Melbourne, the RBA Governor Dr Philip Lowe said that any increase in interest rates still looks to be some time away. He says that “the Board will want to have reasonable confidence that inflation is picking up to be consistent with the medium-term target and that slack in the labour market is lessening.”

The governor also said that he hoped that holding rates steady would assist Australians “make the decisions that can help build the future prosperity of the country that we are so fortunate to live in.”

The full presentation can be found here.

Denny Ave Kelmscott:  level crossing removal and town centre improvements afoot

The state government has announced that an underpass and elevated rail line at the parallel Davis Road is the preferred solution to remove the level crossing on Denny Avenue in Kelmscott. The new east-west road connection at Davis Road will require the rail line to be elevated slightly in this area to accommodate the underpass. A parallel principal shared path will be built alongside the railway to provide safe pedestrian and cycling connections in the community.

Tenders for construction will be released in the coming months, with detailed design and construction to commence shortly after the awarding of the contract next year. The METRONET team has also been given direction to consider a range of town centre improvements that can be achieved within the project scope.

The 2018-19 State Budget also included funding to begin planning for the removal of the three other level crossings identified as priority projects – Caledonian Avenue (Maylands), Oats Street (Carlisle) and Wharf Street (Cannington).

How long will Perth’s downturn last?

A recent blog by CoreLogic’s Cameron Kusher presents the recent periods in which dwelling values have fallen across each capital city and how long values have taken following these falls for values to eclipse their previous peak.

An excerpt from the blog states that “over recent years Perth has experienced a number of downturns in the housing market. The downturn between 2008 and 2009, although short-lived, resulted in the greatest overall fall in values with a decline of 11.0% in 13 months. The current downturn has seen values fall by -10.8% from their peak which occurred in 2014. Based on the data it will likely take some time for values to return to their 2014 peak.”

The full blog including graphs representing the peaks and troughs since 1994 can be found here.