Tax deductions and holding vacant land: update

Federal Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert has confirmed property developers will be exempt from proposed new laws which would deny deductions for expenses associated with holding vacant land.

The Government has released exposure draft legislation and explanatory material for amendments to give effect to the Budget measure that aims to deny certain deductions for expenses associated with holding vacant land from 1 July 2019.

A statement from the Assistant Treasurer’s office advises “the measure does not apply to expenses associated with holding vacant land that is used by the owner or a related entity to carry on a business.

“For example, the measure will not apply to a business of primary production or to a property developer that is carrying on a business and is holding land for the purpose of that business.

“The measure also does not apply to corporate tax entities, managed investment trusts, public unit trusts and unit trusts.”

UDIA National Executive Director, Kirk Coningham, said “we welcome this reasonable decision by the Commonwealth Government.”

“The Government has recognised that tax is an important determining factor over the life and death of businesses. Businesses have a fair entitlement to claim deductions for their expenses and this right has been upheld.”

A copy of the exposure draft and background information can be found here.

GST distribution model to be enshrined in legislation

The Federal Government has introduced legislation today to change the GST distribution model, which not only establishes a floor for the minimum amount each state and territory receives but also guarantees no state will be worse off under the new formula.

The new standard for the distribution of the tax revenue will be the fiscal capacity of the stronger of New South Wales or Victoria. A GST floor of 75 cents will also be introduced and the GST pool will be boosted with federal money.

That guarantee will exist until 2026-27, with the Productivity Commission to review the system at that point.

UDIA-SAPPR Review Panel Workshop

Senior representatives of the development industry met with members of the Strategic Assessment for the Perth and Peel Region Review (SAPPR) Panel to discuss the Review and possible funding options should the Panel recommend that the SAPPR proceed. A range of issues and possible funding options were robustly discussed, with this feedback being used to help inform the Panel’s recommendations and establish the principles underpinning these recommendations. UDIA greatly appreciates the SAPPR Review Panel taking the time to engage with UDIA members on this highly important issue and we look forward to the publication of the Panel’s eagerly awaited Review.


UDIA National Council meets

UDIA’s National Council met in Adelaide this week to discuss a range of national issues and the upcoming federal election.  Topics of discussion included the cities agenda, boosting land and housing supply, cutting green and red tape, smart cities, urban infrastructure, population growth, housing affordability, proposed changes to the National Construction Code, build to rent and CGT and negative gearing taxation reforms.

A significant proportion of the meeting focussed on the key priorities and messages to be included in a single document that clearly articulates UDIA’s focus and policy approach and which will inform UDIA’s federal election campaign.

The next meeting of the National Council will be held in late November in Canberra to enable a range of meetings to also be held with federal ministers.

Water Corporation Developer’s Manual v2.1

Last year, Water Corporation launched Version 2 of the Developers’ Manual which saw the consolidation of a number of key manuals and documents, some process changes and the implementation of online applications forms.  Since its release and continuing feedback from users, a special team effort examined the text of the manual in detail to make sure the terminology matched industry practice.

UDIA has long sought that the manual be reviewed and updated in this way and with the help of a key group of Water Corporation officers with UDAC’s Technical Subcommittee members, the intent and terminology of the entire document was reviewed and revised.

As well as these profound changes, the new manual has improvements in the areas of:

  • Online Clearances
  • Updated online forms
  • Additional Guidance notes for Sewer Connecting Links and Pump Stations
  • Revised Terminology
  • Further guidance on fees and isolation processes

The Manual is a living document and the Water Corporation is accepting any feedback on the amendments to the Developers Manual that can be emailed to

UDIA greatly appreciates the Corporation’s efforts to engage with industry to ensure its processes are efficient and effective and we look forward to continuing this positive relationship.  Special thanks to Craig Hansen, Shane Highman, Mark Busher, Jarred McEwan, Rick Harrison, Peter Bowyer, Darren Buckley, Brian Farrell, and Troy Boekman  for their help with this update.

Waterwise Forum

UDIA attended the Water Corporation 18th Waterwise Forum this week. The Forum examined a range of issues and opportunities to help make Perth a water sensitive city with presentations provided by a wide variety of industry stakeholders. As a Waterwise program partner, through the Institute’s EnviroDevelopment program and our advocacy agenda, UDIA looks forward to further collaborating with the Waterwise program to deliver more water sensitive communities throughout WA.

Port Hedland Dust Taskforce Response

The state Government has released its response to the Port Hedland Dust Taskforce Report, focused on decreasing dust exposure for residents.   The response was released on the same day that plans for Port Hedland’s Spoilbank Marina development were unveiled.

Full responsibility for operating and maintaining the air quality monitoring network will be transferred to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, which will also develop a dust management guideline for bulk handling port premises.

The Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) will be responsible for implementing the taskforce’s recommendations through an improvement plan over the West End. The precise boundaries of that plan will be developed in consultation with the Town of Port Hedland.

An improvement plan and scheme will be developed by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage for the WAPC to consider.

In terms of the new marina, it will have initial provision for 20 boat pens, and sufficient basin capacity to expand to 45. The development will feature a two-lane boat ramp, two breakwaters and internal revetment walls, and a separate access channel to exit into deeper water adjacent to the main Port Hedland shipping channel.

Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas

A finalised fact sheet to assist in the preparation of local planning strategies in accordance with State Planning Policy 3.7 Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas and the Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas has been released.

See more information 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 discussion paper on cost recovery for the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is out for comment and submissions are due by Thursday 1 November, 2018.  More information here.

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.

Local government review – latest update

As part of the Local Government Act Review, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries is visiting local governments and communities throughout WA to seek ideas to ‘Transform Local Government’. Some of the questions that will be addressed during the forums include: should charities pay rates; should there be compulsory local government elections; when should local governments be required to engage with the community; and how should local governments handle complaints.

More information on when and where the forums are being held can be found here.

‘Air BnB’ Inquiry

Planning Minister, the Hon. Rita Saffioti has voiced her support for an inquiry into the level of regulation of short-stay accommodation.

The Economics and Industry Standing Committee has resolved to investigate and report on the adequacy of the regulation of short-term holiday letting in Western Australia, covering issues including customer safety, insurance, land use planning, building standards, stay length, neighbourhood amenity, registration, licensing and taxation.

The move follows calls earlier this week from the Australian Hotels Association for online short stay accommodation providers, such as those using Airbnb, to be subject to equivalent regulations as the licensed accommodation sector such as hotels and bed and breakfasts.