Land sales on the up

UDIA released the final Urban Development Index for the December 2017 quarter to members this week.  The good news is that sales are on the increase with a 4% rise in the number of lots sold for the quarter.  Prices in the Perth region were also up with a moderate 0.5% increase in the average price of new land.  Construction activity has decreased as a result of declines in short term expectations.

Members can download the full report here

Planning reform agenda priorities

UDIA’s February Industry Luncheon held today was attended by nearly 450 guests and featured presentations from the leaders of the state government’s planning reform team Evan Jones and Gail McGowan along with Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Planning; Lands and Heritage the Hon. John Carey MLA.

Principal of the Planning Reform Team, Evan Jones highlighted several critical issues that need to be addressed in his presentation including the fact we have extended timelines for strategic planning, a poorly connected decision making system and outdated and inconsistent local planning schemes.

The key themes of the reform program are laudable and we hope that the practicality and common sense approach that was reflected in Evan’s presentation is extend throughout the reform process.

Read our media release from the luncheon for more details here

Thanks to our Industry Partners LD Total and Strategen Environmental for your support along with networking drinks sponsor APD Engineering.

Mandogalup win

UDIA welcomed the state government’s announcement on Friday that Cabinet has endorsed findings by the Environmental Protection Authority that will allow for urban development on land to the north-east of the Kwinana Residue Disposal Area (RDA), as it found negligible health and amenity impact from dust in this area.

This decision is in line with UDIA’s position as outlined to Minister Saffioti in a letter dated August 2017.  UDIA outlined in the letter our concerns about the process to date for determination of the size of the buffer and the precedent this set for the future development of residential land in the Perth metropolitan region.

Given the EPA’s very clear findings, together with the significant time delays and uncertainty that have long been cast over this area, the UDIA requested that the Government act promptly on the EPA recommendations to finalise the urban rezoning of the land cleared by the Authority.

More details on the government’s announcement here

UDIA/ Western Power meet

UDIA representatives recently met with Western Power to discuss potential solutions to a series of issues set out by industry about the implications of changes to the UDS Manual from a land development perspective.

Western Power agreed to manage legacy projects underway prior to changes occurring on a case-by-case basis and to accept ‘examined’ Deposited Plans. UDIA will continue to work with Western Power to ensure the requirements of the UDS are appropriate for the needs of industry and Western Power.

Local Government Act Review Phase 1

UDIA has provided industry feedback on the Local Government Act Review Phase 1 Consultation Paper, outlining how the effectiveness and efficiency of local government policy and operation directly impacts on the development industry’s ability to operate efficiently and deliver affordable residential, commercial and industrial development to the market.

We have recommended that the principles of the review should be expanded to include a broader consideration of local government services in Phase 2. UDIA has also requested a position on the working group in order to ensure that the development industry is represented appropriately.

We also believe it is critical that Phase 2 of the review examine local government performance with regard to the management of development contributions for infrastructure.

More details on all our recommendations can be found here

Feedback sought on UDIA submissions

Please forward feedback on the following draft publications to for inclusion in our industry submissions:

  • Review of the Waste Strategy (here) –by 19 February 2018
  • Development Control policies 1.1, 1.2, 1.7, 2.5 and 5.1 (here)– by 1 March 2018

Reserve Bank launches statement on monetary policy

UDIA attended the launch of the February 2018 RBA Statement on Monetary Policy yesterday which sets the RBA’s assessment of current economic conditions. The statement advises that global economic conditions have picked up and overall prospects for global growth remain positive.

In Australia, the labour market is particularly strong and GDP growth is expected to increase over the period ahead to just over 3 per cent during 2018 and 2019.

Dwelling investment remains at a high level in Australia particularly in South Eastern states and conditions in the established housing market in Sydney and Melbourne have eased. Tighter lending standards helped contain the build-up of risks in household balance sheets.

Unemployment has trended down in 2017 and we have seen a growth in full time employment.  Inflation remains low and is likely to continue.

The full report can be found here

METRONET – Opportunity Awaits…

Perth and transit-oriented development (TOD) have somewhat of a chequered history.  Whilst projects such as Subi Centro, Cockburn Central and The Village at Wellard could rightfully lay claim to TOD status, for every good Perth example, there are a multitude of examples of stations being placed in large freeway road reservations with “planner applied” densities spattered either side.  And while not every train, bus or light rail stop can or should facilitate transit-oriented development, Perth can certainly do TOD better and do it more often.

Read the full feature blog from our Principal Research Partner Urbis here

WAPC Strategic Plan released

The state government has approved the WAPC Strategic Plan for 2018-2021. According to Chairman Eric Lumsden, the WAPC has taken a whole-of-government approach to the development of a suite of high-level policies setting out a long-term vision and strategy for coordinating planning, infrastructure, transport and environmental approval processes.

You can view the full plan here

Latest on housing and lending finance released

The total value of owner occupied housing commitments excluding alterations and additions rose 0.1% in trend terms, and the seasonally adjusted series fell 1.0% across Australia according to the December 2017 lending finance figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Making communities more age friendly

A $100,000 Age-Friendly Communities Innovation and Implementation Grants Program has been launched by the state government which will remain open for applications until March 22, 2018. Local governments will be able to apply for grants of up to $10,000 to implement projects that make their communities more age-friendly.

For the latest grant round, priority will be given to applications for collaborative projects between two or more local governments that have local community partners.

More information about the program can be found here