New CEO to commence

Outgoing UDIA WA CEO Allison Hailes completed a formal handover with incoming CEO Tanya Steinbeck this week.  Ms Steinbeck will officially commence the role at the UDIA Industry luncheon this Friday 16th November.

UDIA WA President Nick Allingame has thanked Allison Hailes on behalf of Council, staff and members for her leadership and commitment to the urban development industry.  During her three years at the helm, Allison has ensured the institute’s success and positive growth despite challenging economic conditions. We wish Allison the very best for her move to the UK.

We look forward to welcoming Tanya at the luncheon tomorrow and working with her to continue to provide our members with the very best representation and service.

More details about Tanya’s background can be found in our media release here.

RBA assesses the effects of housing lending policy measures

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) Deputy Governor Guy Debelle presented at a FINSIA event in Melbourne today, outlining the Bank’s assessment of the various measures put in place to address the risks around housing lending.

Mr Debelle said that the motivation for implementing the various measures was to address the mounting risk to household balance sheets arising from the rapid growth of certain forms of lending, in particular lending to investors and interest-only (IO) lending.  The RBA believes that strong growth in investor lending was putting upward pressure on house prices and construction with the risk of a ‘sharp unwinding’.

In terms of the impact to date of the measures, Mr Debelle advised that the RBA believes they “have helped to reduce the riskiness of new borrowing. In turn, this has stemmed the increase in household sector vulnerabilities and improved the resilience of the economy to future shocks. The measures have led to a slowing in credit growth but there is little evidence to suggest that the measures have excessively constrained aggregate credit supply. Housing credit growth has slowed, but it is still running at 5 per cent.”

The full presentation is available here.

GST arrangement to assist in debt recovery

The GST reform package passed through the Senate on Wednesday 14 November, paving the way for WA to receive a fairer share of GST.

WA Premier Mark McGowan and Treasurer Ben Wyatt have advised that WA’s GST ‘top up’ payments will be used to reduce debt, with an estimated $1.7 billion in top up payments expected between 2019-20 and 2021-22.

The new GST system will be introduced over eight years. In addition to the initial untied ‘top-up’ payments for WA, a transition to the new equalisation formula will see all States and Territories equalised to the strongest State out of New South Wales and Victoria.

A ‘within‑system’ 70 per cent floor will also be locked into place from 2022-23, and rise to 75 per cent from 2024-25. This will prevent any State or Territory from falling below this mark.

The new equalisation formula (and associated GST pool ‘top‑ups’) is estimated to deliver an additional $3 billion in revenue to WA over six years from 2021-22. This revenue will form part of the typical annual GST grants.

UDIA will continue to call on the government to ensure that appropriate funding is allocated to forward planning and provision of essential infrastructure in order to deliver appropriate land and housing to the market in an affordable and timely way, particularly as the market begins to recover.

UDIA responds to ATCO Access Arrangements

UDIA WA recently lodged a submission on behalf of members on the Proposed Revisions to the Mid-West and South-West Gas Distribution Systems Access Arrangement for 2020 to 2024.

The GDS consists of gas networks servicing Geraldton, Bunbury, Busselton, Harvey, Pinjarra, Brunswick Junction, Capel and the Perth greater metropolitan area (including Mandurah). These combined networks supply approximately 750,000 customers through more than 14,000 kilometres of gas distribution pipelines.

Given UDIA and ATCO share a common interest in the reliable, safe and efficient supply of gas for Western Australian homes and industry, we felt it important to advise the Economic Regulation Authority of our strong support for the scheme as it will assist in overcoming some of the cost barriers to providing reticulated gas, connected to the GDS in commercial subdivisions.

This will also help ensure the long term viability of commercial areas as the commercial and industrial operators in those areas evolve over time.

More details, including the issues paper, can be found here.

Better urban forest planning guide released

Better Urban Forest Planning, is a guide to support the enhancement of urban forests in WA that has been developed in association with WALGA.  It is aimed to help local government and the community plan and manage urban forests for current and future generations.

According to the document, the protection of a healthy, resilient and diverse urban ecosystem is a shared responsibility across State and Local Governments, landowners, the development industry, businesses and the community.

The strategic objectives of the guide include preventing the loss of tree canopy in urban areas; increasing tree canopy cover where possible, especially in areas of low canopy;  improving biodiversity and allowing species movements through urban settings; and promoting consistency between urban forest policies and strategies developed by different Local Governments.

More information can be found here.

Housing and lending finance data released

According to the latest housing finance data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the total number of WA owner-occupier commitments fell 2.9% in the September quarter to 14,332.  That is a significant 14.8% lower than the corresponding quarter in 2017 and the second-lowest number of quarterly commitments recorded since June 1995 (with the lowest being in March 2018).

The number of dwellings financed by first home buyers (FHB) fell 5.8% in September to sit at 1,135, a decrease of 13.9% Year-on-Year (YoY). The average loan size for FHBs lifted 1.3% month-on-month (MoM) and 4.3% YoY to $309,200.

In terms of lending finance, WA dwelling finance for investment housing during the September quarter fell 19.8% Quarter on Quarter to $1.472 billion, following a 6.7% quarterly uplift in June, and also decreased 29.5% from the corresponding quarter in 2017. WA made up 4.5% of national dwelling finance for investment housing in the quarter.

More details here and here

We want your feedback!

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

The DPLH and DWER joint discussion paper on Planning for Entertainment Noise in the Northbridge Area is out for comment. Submissions are due by 26 November, 2018. More information here.

The next stage of the Local Government Act Review has been released for comment, with submissions closing 31 March, 2019. More information here.

DWER Review of thresholds for uncontaminated fill – Consultation paper (available here). Submissions close Friday 18 January, 2019.

Draft SPP 2.4 Basic Raw Materials (available here). Submissions close Friday 25 January, 2019.

UDIA supporting Youth Futures this Christmas

Each year up to 6000 young West Australians will not have a safe secure place to stay. Through the Youth Focus homelessness and Education services, almost 150 young people will have a brighter Christmas and UDIA will be supporting this important cause at our Christmas Luncheon on Friday 7 December.

Through the Youth Foucs Christmas Cheer program, support workers will deliver a special package for each young person. The package contains essentials such as toiletries and stationary, and some treats to help them celebrate the Christmas period.

Support from UDIA members will help achieve the delivery of these special packages, ensuring that the young people have a smile on their face this Christmas.

The Youth Focus organisation started as a simple idea to minimise youth homelessness in 1986 when a group of passionate community members decided to seek funding for a crisis accommodation refuge in Perth’s northern suburbs. TINOCA (Teenagers in Need of Crisis Accommodation) opened in 1988, and still offers young people experiencing homelessness with safe, secure accommodation today.

Youth Futures supports thousands of disadvantaged and disengaged young people each year through a variety of homelessness, education and support programs with a vision for a community where young people are valued, respected and celebrated.

UDIA is proud to partner with Youth Focus at our Christmas Luncheon in 2018 and our guests will have an opportunity to support this worthy cause on the day.  Please register for the luncheon here.

To donate now, you can text CHEER to 0437 371 371 today and donate $70 to support a young person this Christmas.

Read about Sheridan’s Christmas here and James’ experience of homelessness here.

Annual PEF Regatta – early bird opportunity

PEF is hosting their annual regatta in March 2019 followed by a post-race beach party. Early bird registrations for this popular event close on 30th November, so don’t delay in registering so that you can join Primewest, Stockland, Perron, CBRE, Colliers, Savills, Cedar Woods and Cape Bouvard who have already confirmed their place!

Proceeds from the event go to supporting and connecting property students and young professionals within the property industry.

More details here.

Waste factsheets released

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) has recently published two factsheets relevant to waste and is seeking feedback on their clarity and usefulness.

The first, Factsheet – assessing whether material is waste, sets out the matters relevant to determining whether material is ‘waste’ within the meaning under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and the Waste Avoidance Recovery Act 2007 and their associated regulations.

The second, Factsheet – amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulations 1987 – clean fill and uncontaminated fill, provides information on clean fill and uncontaminated fill in accordance with the amended Environmental Protection Regulations 1987 and the revised Landfill Waste Classification and Waste Definitions 1996 (amended 2018).

If you wish to provide feedback or for further information, please email DWER at or phone 6364 7000.

The factsheets can be viewed here.

Securing future economic development

A new report from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) explores how we can realise better social and economic outcomes for Australia in the decades to come. The report identifies five priority areas to deliver future economic development for Australia in relation to population; technology              and data; workplace, workforce and collaboration; critical services; and institutions.

CEDA’s  Community Pulse 2018  survey  found that many people feel disconnected from the progress made possible by economic growth.

Connecting people with progress examines the elements of Australia’s brand of economic development that have underpinned our past success and identifies where and how we can do better.

Read the full report here.

Serneke launches Australian joint venture

Serneke, one of Sweden’s fastest growing construction companies has formed Serneke Australia and bought into Perth-based Consortium Builders Pty Ltd, which will now be trading as Serneke.

Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Gothenburg, Serneke has more than 1000 employees with construction, civil engineering, project development and property management divisions throughout Sweden.

The founding directors of Consortium Builders, Andrew Abercromby and Mark Swann, flew to Sweden in August to formalise the agreement which followed several trips by Serneke founder and CEO, Ola Serneke and his executive team to Perth over the past year to assess opportunities. They are identifying opportunities to become involved in the development of Perth’s urban infill and transport-related precincts.

With an initial focus on multi-residential and community projects in Perth, Serneke is keen to be involved with local developers from the earliest stage, as part of the design team, possibly taking an equity share in stand-out projects.

Recycled materials to be used for freeway road base

The state government will pilot the use of recycled materials for road base on the Kwinana Freeway widening project, using recycled construction and demolition (C&D) waste as road base.

In a first for a major road in Western Australia, recycled material will be trialled on the freeway widening project between Russell Road and Roe Highway to boost WA’s poor recycling performance.

The government has advised that Main Roads will work with the Waste Authority and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to increase the use of recycled C&D products in major civil construction projects throughout the State.

The findings of the Roads to Reuse pilot and finalisation of the State Government’s Waste Strategy 2030 report later this year, will be used to establish the Government’s Roads to Reuse program.

For more information on Roads to Reuse, visit the Waste Authority’s website.