State Conference 2019 – that’s a wrap!

The team at UDIA have received fantastic feedback from delegates who attended the 2019 UDIA WA State Conference – developing connections, developing communities last week.  As we advised in the last edition of Urban Express, the conference attracted three state Ministers along with a range of high calibre speakers, panellists and guests from industry, state and local government.

In closing the conference on Friday afternoon, UDIA WA President Nick Allingame provided a rundown on the key messages and themes that emerged throughout the sessions and noted UDIA’s leadership position that is reflected in hosting three state government Ministers over the duration of the conference along with the positive working relationship that the institute maintains with the current government.

Minister Alannah MacTiernan opened proceedings at the Welcome dinner on Wednesday night, embracing the future of ‘rocks and crops’ as continuing to be the cornerstones of our economy.

While she said that mining, resources and agriculture would continue to underpin the economy, there is diversification happening within those industries and also a need to further value add to the raw materials and products that we produce.

The success of these industries obviously has a significant flow on effect to our industry.

Minister for Planning Rita Saffioti outlined her portfolio priorities across planning reform; Design WA; Entertainment Noise Regulations; and MetroNet.

The Minister was followed by David Caddy outlining the positive work that has been happening in terms of reform and decision making moving forward.

In his capacity as Chair of the current SAPPR review, UDIA National President Darren Cooper provided an exclusive update on the progress of the SAPPR review to date.  Darren advised that the review process has been extended for another six months, to further consider three gateway issues: legal risk, flexibility and funding.

Darren also said the review panel will consult closely with UDIA and its membership over the next six months.

Wrapping up the morning session, Ray Haerean gave an insight into the progress of Precinct Planning, an area that UDIA has been focusing on given the importance to providing a clearer framework for infill development.

Worth noting during the afternoon sessions, when the key government agencies were featured, was that all these speakers mentioned the positive working relationship they have with UDIA and appreciation for the way we are working collaboratively and constructively to get the best outcomes, not only for our members but for the broader community.

There was also a key theme regarding early engagement that came across loud and clear – particularly for more significant or complex development applications – with presenters advising to get in early and seek advice prior to official applications.

Mike Rowe from DWER also outlined how his department is undertaking a reform process to make the approvals process clearer.  Mike also advised that his department is working on streamlining the EPA Act and developing a new State Climate Policy which will have an impact on how we do things in regard to water.

Peter Woronzow from Main Roads provided context on the sheer size ad value of the assets that the department is responsible for and said that Main Roads is looking at their interface with the planning system and reiterated that message to consult early.

Guy Chalkley from Western Power discussed how WP is moving from a meshed to a modular network and how ‘’emerged’’ (not emerging) technology is impacting on day to day business.

Ending the day with some thought provokers, Troy Gorton provided delegates with a rundown on some of the latest technology and ideas that industry should be thinking about now to prepare for the future. From Artificial Intelligence to 3D printing.

UDIA National President Darren Cooper opened proceedings on day two with a National Update, outlining UDIA National’s federal election campaign and priority focus issues for the year including getting population settings right; delivering urban infrastructure; boosting housing supply and diversity; reforming taxes and charges; improving clarity and certainty; and future proofing our cities.

UDIA National launched the federal election campaign this week and more information can be found here.

Nicole Lockwood followed Darren’s presentation with an insight into Infrastructure Australia’s processes and decision making and how that will integrate with the soon to be established Infrastructure WA.  Nicole also provided an interesting insight into the current Westport process and the significant community engagement that is taking place as part of that project.

The final speaker for the day discussed leadership in hard times.  Peter Baines spent two decades as a forensic investigator, working with Interpol, the United Nations, advising on Counter Terrorism and also worked in several countries following major crisis including Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

He had many in the audience in tears yet managed to provide significant insights into leadership and provided learnings relevant to businesses facing change, growth or challenges.

After his work assisting thousands of victims of the Thailand tsunami, Peter established the charity Hands across the Water, which assists children left without a home or parents. More information here.

A huge thank you once again to the sponsors of the UDIA WA State Conference: Department of Communities; LandCorp; Lendlease; and Taylor Burrell Barnett.

Premier meets with UDIA

Nick Allingame and Tanya Steinbeck met with Premier Mark McGowan yesterday to present UDIA WA’s State Policy Priorities and highlight industry concerns around housing affordability, developer contributions and the impact of tax and regulation such as the Foreign Buyers Surcharge and Bushfire Regulations on affordability.

Industry support for SAPPR was also conveyed to the Premier, whom acknowledged in general the challenges facing the industry from a market perspective. The Premier indicated that given the Foreign Buyers Surcharge is already legislated and in place, it would not be changed, deferred or removed.

He expressed interest in the management of developer contributions and the significant funds remaining unspent that could be invested in community infrastructure, and encouraged engagement with the Minister for Local Government, which the UDIA will undertake.

Automated BAL assessments

Nick Allingame, Tanya Steinbeck and members of the State Council met with Minister for Emergency Services, the Hon. Fran Logan MLA and Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner, Darren Klemm last Wednesday to receive a briefing on the LiDAR-based technology delivering automated BAL assessments in the ACT.

The Minister confirmed that DFES is working together with Landgate and other agencies that already have LiDAR data to work towards implementing a whole-of-government technology asset that would facilitate automated, science based BAL assessments in the future.

The UDIA is continuing to engage with the Minister and DFES on the administrative and regulatory issues with the Bushfire Regulations, and pushing for the resolution and publication of the Buti Review.

Housing economics for non-economists

Tanya Steinbeck participated in a panel discussion at an event run by Shelter WA and Curtin University last night as part of a lecture series. Professor Rachel Ong delivered an excellent presentation of the foundational economic concepts of supply and demand, how housing market cycles are tied to economic cycles and how supply and demand concepts can be applied to housing affordability concerns. Part of a four part lecture series, you can find out more about the remaining three sessions here.

Western Power – free briefing

UDIA Members are invited to attend a briefing on planning our future electricity grid by Ben Bristow, Distribution Grid Strategy Manager and part of the Grid Transformation Team.

The briefing will cover:

  • What is Western Power doing to transform their approach to planning to stay ahead of the demand
  • How does this new approach benefit customers
  • What will be the impact on connection standards and manuals

The briefing is scheduled for Wednesday 13 March. For more information visit here or contact

Timeframe extensions for ecological communities

The Department of Environment and Energy has advised that after receiving the conservation advice and recommendation from the TSSC, the Minister for the Environment has decided to defer decision on whether or not to list as threatened ecological communities:

  • Tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) Woodlands and Forests of the Swan Coastal Plain – to 1 July 2019;
  • Poplar Box Grassy Woodland on Alluvial Plains – to 1 July 2019; and
  • Tasmanian Forests and Woodlands Dominated by Black Gum or Brookers Gum (Eucalyptus ovata / E. brookeriana) – to 1 July 2019

The extra time will allow the Minister to consider more information about consultation that has occurred with stakeholders in affected areas.

Wood & Grieve Engineers join Stantec

Following the successful completion of due diligence, award-winning firm Wood & Grieve Engineers (WGE) is now starting the integration of its business into global consulting firm Stantec.

WGE officially joined Stantec on Friday 1st March, but the process will be a gradual one, with the firm retaining its name alongside Stantec throughout the transition.

Stantec president and CEO Gord Johnston said WGE’s track record of delivering iconic projects, with a clear client-centric approach, made them the ideal partner.

Read more here.

Myths and facts of Development in High Groundwater

Nick Deeks, Technical Director – Hydrology, Service Line Leader Hydrology and Hydrodynamics, GHD will present at a New WAter Ways free information session on the findings from the latest CRCWSC project.

The report identifies current best practice knowledge of groundwater management in areas of high groundwater. From these knowledge gaps, the authors identified areas that, if researched, are likely to have the greatest benefit to those planning, designing and regulating urban development in areas of high groundwater.

The session will run from 12-1pm on Friday 22 March at the Atrium, L4 Theatrette, 168 St George’s Tce, no RSVPs required.

GPS tracking on building sites

UDIA WA Industry Partner PACT Site Security have provided advice that shows the successful outcome of installing GPS tracking devices on building sites.

In one incident, two males were charged in relation to the theft of a hot water system from a construction site in Treeby on 3 January 2019. The unit had been fitted with a GPS tracking device by builder BGC’s crime prevention partners, PACT who manage and protect building sites against crime during the construction phase.

The tracking systems, which are fitted to appliances such as ovens, whitegoods, hot-water systems and more, trigger an alert when the item moves beyond a perimeter and tracks the item to the new location.  The PACT team then report the theft so that WA police can respond.

The GPS trackers installed by PACT on sites around Perth have led to 9 activations over the past 7 months with recovered property valued in excess of $10,000.

Find more information here.

We value your feedback!

UDIA is currently working on several submissions on behalf of members.  We encourage you to forward any feedback to these items to

Draft Position Statement for Tourism land uses within bushfire prone areas (here). Submissions close 20 March, 2019.

Local Government Act Review, submissions closing 31 March, 2019. More information here.

Building Approvals for January released

The Australian Bureau of statistics latest building approvals data shows that approvals for WA houses in January fell 0.6% MoM to sit at 856. That is 15.6% below figures at the same time last year.

Building approvals for WA dwellings (excluding houses) tripled in January from the month prior to total 418, 7.5% above levels in January 2018.

In January, the total value of WA new residential building jobs increased 15.6% over the month to sit at $394 million, 6.5% below figures in the corresponding month in 2018. Within this total: building jobs for new construction lifted 14.4% MoM to $348 million, 8.6% down from the same time last year; and building jobs for alterations and additions (including conversion) increased 25% MoM and 12.9% YoY to total $45.97 million.

More information here.

Waste levy capped for 2019-20

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has announced that there will be no increase to the State’s waste levy next financial year.

As part of the State’s recently released Waste Strategy 2030, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will review the levy to ensure it meets the new strategy’s objectives. The department will establish a schedule of future waste levy rates and look at expanding the geographic extent of the levy, which currently only applies to the Perth metropolitan region.

A minimum five-year schedule of waste levy rates will be published to provide certainty to local governments in planning their waste services, and to drive investment and employment in the waste sector.