Liza Harvey elected Leader of the Opposition

UDIA has congratulated the Hon. Liza Harvey MLA on her appointment as the new Leader of the Opposition in the WA Parliament.  Ms Harvey was elected unopposed this morning following the resignation of former Leader Dr Mike Nahan.  Ms Harvey is the first female Leader of the Liberal Party in Western Australia and served as Police Minister in the former Barnett Government, she has also been serving as Shadow Minister for Transport; Planning; Lands since March 2017.

More information here.

UDIA releases new Urban Intelligence Report

The May edition of the UDIA WA Urban Intelligence report has been circulated to members this week providing a monthly snapshot of the latest data and information impacting on the property industry.

Key figures include the slight increase in population growth and the Wage Price Index (both increasing 0.3% for the month). The unemployment rate is also down and retail turnover and the Consumer Price Index are down for the month.

Full report including land and housing market data and a feature article analysing the latest results is available to UDIA Members only here.

Buti Review outcomes in demand

UDIA in collaboration with WALGA has written to the Premier to request an expedient release of Dr Buti’s independent review of the Bushfire Planning Framework findings along with the state government’s formal response.

The review was established in 2017 and representatives from UDIA and WALGA met with Dr Buti at the time to provide evidence and feedback into the review.  Our understanding is the review has been largely completed and draft recommendations have been produced.

The release of the findings and recommendations is vital and UDIA hopes the government will heed our requests and they will be released as soon as possible.

Leasehold Schemes, Scheme Plans discussion paper

UDIA has provided comment on behalf of members to the Landgate discussion paper on Leasehold Schemes, Scheme Plans and Miscellaneous Regulations.

UDIA reiterated general support for the strata reform process to date and the inclusive consultation process that Landgate has adopted, and we made specific comment in relation to parts one and seven of the paper.

Specifically, we advised that given the adoption of Design WA, it is important that language between the regulations and the new planning framework is consistent, particularly where parts of the R-Codes have been replaced.

UDIA also contends that the provisions of regulation 36 which provide the requirement to seek the consent of an owner of a leasehold scheme to transfer a lot, the mortgage of a lot, or lease of a lot should be extended beyond the Housing Authority. Limiting this provision to the Housing Authority will only prevent the private sector from delivering the government’s infill aspirations and delivering private sector led regeneration initiatives.

Our full submission can be read here.

APRA on revisions to the ADI capital framework

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has published its response to the first round of consultation on its proposed changes to the capital framework for authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs), which includes the loosening of capital requirements for low-risk owner-occupied, principal and interest home loans.

The package of proposed changes flows from the finalised Basel III reforms, as well as the Financial System Inquiry recommendation for the capital ratios of Australian ADIs to be ’unquestionably strong’.

APRA stated that after reviewing the 18 submissions lodged by stakeholders during the first round of consultation, and after reflecting on the findings of a quantitative impact study it conducted, it has proposed to amend some of its initial proposals, which include:

  • for residential mortgages, some narrowing in the capital difference that applies to lower-risk owner-occupied, principal-and-interest mortgages and all other mortgages
  • more granular risk weight buckets and the recognition of additional types of collateral for SME lending, as recommended by the Productivity Commission in its report on Competition in the Financial System
  • lower risk weights for credit cards and personal loans secured by vehicles

APRA Chair Wayne Byres said: “In setting out these latest proposals, APRA has sought to balance its primary objectives of implementing the Basel III reforms and ‘unquestionably strong’ capital ratios with a range of important secondary objectives. These objectives include targeting the structural concentration in residential mortgages in the Australian banking system and ensuring an appropriate competitive outcome between different approaches to measuring capital adequacy.

More information here.

Bushfire policy – vehicular access

UDIA has been advised that the draft Element 3 – Vehicular Access (Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas) released by the Department of Planning for targeted consultation has not progressed to the point where it should be given consideration in determining planning applications.

The consultation period closed in March 2019 and local governments and consultants have raised significant concerns regarding the increases proposed to the horizontal clearance in the draft Table 6: Vehicular access technical requirements. It is likely that significant changes to the element will be undertaken prior to conducting a further round of targeted consultation.

The department says that planning applications within designated bushfire prone areas should be assessed under the current requirements of Version 1.3 of the Guidelines in Bushfire Prone Areas.

Please contact if you would like further clarification.

Queens Birthday Honours

Congratulations to former Water Corporation CEO Sue Murphy, who has been recognised on the Queen’s Birthday 2019 Honours List.  Sue has been appointed an Officer in the General Division (AO) of the Order of Australia.

The award is in recognition of distinguished service to the natural resources sector in Western Australia, and to engineering. Ms Murphy served as Water Corporation CEO from 2008 to 2018 and played a significant role in securing Perth’s water supply for the future in the context of climate change, including a diversification of water sources.

Congratulations also to Director General of the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage Gail McGowan, whom received a Public Service Medal for outstanding public service to land use planning and industry development in Western Australia.

The full honours list can be downloaded here.

A Blueprint for an active Australia

The Heart Foundation have released the third edition of their Blueprint for an Active Australia which outlines 13 action areas including Action Area 1 related to the Built Environment.

Action Area One explores how community and neighbourhood design impacts on how frequently we walk, cycle or use public transport and also on our participation in recreational walking and physical activity.

There are a range of recommendations made in relation to this area and more information can be downloaded here.

Leeuwin-Naturaliste Sub-Regional Strategy published

The state government has advised that the Leeuwin -Naturaliste Sub-Regional Strategy was published in May 2019 and is now available to download here.

The Strategy is an overarching planning document that guides the future planning and development of all the land within the local government areas of the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River and the City of Busselton.

Waste not, want not

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is seeking public comments on potential waste legislation reforms and has released an issues paper “Waste not, want not: valuing waste as a resource”.

The issues paper outlines possible reforms to support use of waste-derived materials and Western Australia’s move to a circular economy. The reforms aim to provide greater certainty about when waste-derived materials will trigger licensing and levy obligations.

Comments provided in response to this paper will inform the legislative direction for waste-derived materials. The issues paper is available on the Department’s “Open consultations” webpage here.

The consultation period will run from Wednesday, 12 June to Wednesday, 4 September 2019.  All submissions should be sent to by 5pm (WST) Wednesday, 4 September 2019. No late submissions will be accepted.

We value your feedback!

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

  • Draft Position Statement – Fibre Ready Telecommunications Infrastructure (here). Submissions close Monday 22 July, 2019.
  • EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessment Guidance (here). Submissions close Monday 2 September, 2019.
  • DWER issues paper ‘Waste not, want not: valuing waste as a resource’ out for comment (here). Submissions close Wednesday 4 September.

Latest data releases

According to the latest from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the number of owner-occupier housing finance commitments (excluding refinancing) recorded in WA fell 3.2% month-on-month (MoM) to total 3,098, 6.3% lower than at the same time last year and 27.9% below the ten-year monthly average.

In April, housing finance commitments made by WA first home buyers (FHB) fell to 1,081, a 6.0% decrease from March and 7.1% down YoY. The total value of FHB commitments made in this month similarly declined 6.5% MoM to sit at $338.2 million, 8.8% lower than at the same time the year prior and 23.3% below the ten-year monthly average value.

Non-FHB commitments (excluding refinancing) for April fell 1.6% MoM and 5.9% YoY to total 2,017. The value of these commitments was $702 million.

Labour Force data is looking slightly more positive, with the state’s unemployment rate for May falling 17 basis points (bps) over the month to sit at 5.9% (in original terms; 6.3% seasonally adjusted), 5bps below levels at the same time last year and 84bps above the national rate of 5.1%.

In May, the number of employed persons in WA lifted 0.3% month-on-month (MoM) to 1.343 million, 0.4% higher than figures in May 2018.

WA’s state participation rate remained steady in May at 68.48%, but was 42bps lower year-on-year (YoY) and 219bps above the national rate of 66.3%.

A ‘Clean Economy’ Future?

A University of Melbourne endorsed issues paper has found that the costs of emissions reduction measures are far less than the damages of inaction – even with modelling underestimating damages from climate change and overestimating the costs of emissions reduction.

The paper, entitled Australia’s Clean Energy Future: Costs and Benefits says that of the options available to states and territories, increasing renewable power generation and use should be a priority, as should state-based emissions management schemes for the energy sector.

Sector-specific options targeting transport, agriculture and land use will also drive change and create new employment opportunities as these sectors undergo drastic change.

Read more here.