Government response on Foreign Buyers Surcharge

State Treasurer Ben Wyatt has written to UDIA in response to our letter urging the government to delay the introduction of a Foreign Buyers Surcharge until the WA property market has further recovered.

We are disappointed to advise that the Treasurer has reiterated the government’s position on the surcharge, stating that given there are only a small percentage of foreign investors in the WA market, the new charge will have minimal impact.  The letter quotes a report by the Property Council of Australia that foreign purchases in Western Australia in 2016-17 were just 1.26%.

UDIA believes that the encouragement of more investment in WA is critical to the growth of our economy.  Leader of the Opposition Mike Nahan supported our position during his presentation at our Industry Luncheon last Friday, stating that in other states, a surcharge has been introduced to dampen a ‘hot market’ and it has been successful.  WA however, is clearly in a different part of the market cycle and the property market requires government support to encourage growth.

UDIA will continue to work on behalf of members to highlight the importance of supporting the property sector as a significant contributor to WA’s economy.

WA population projections downgraded

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released new population projections for Australia today that reflect the impact of the economic downturn on Western Australia.  While the population is expected to continue to grow, it is at a much more conservative rate than projected back in 2013 when figures were based on boom time conditions.

The downgraded projections are no surprise given that we know growth has declined since the boom.  What is significant, is the greater proportion of growth expected for Perth as compared to regional areas.  The ABS says the proportion of growth for Greater Perth could reach between 80% and 81% in 2027.

The population for Greater Perth is projected to increase from 2.0 million at 30 June 2017 to between 2.3 million and 2.4 million in 2027. By 2066 it is projected to increase to between 3.7 million and 4.3 million.

Based on these figures, UDIA is confident that we need to continue to plan for growth and ensure we are investing in the required infrastructure for Perth and Peel @ 3.5 million.  This includes ensuring that housing affordability is kept in check through appropriate land supply.

The figures also reinforce the need for the state government to introduce a positive migration policy for WA and attract more people to the state. This includes clearly articulating ‘Brand Perth’ with a strategy that provides a clear value proposition for those considering coming here, including investors, students and workers.

More information here.

Property recovery predictions

UDIA’s final Industry Luncheon last Friday featured a positive key note address from Leader of the Opposition Mike Nahan, who opened his presentation by stating that he has ‘great faith in the future growth of Western Australia for a variety of reasons, first of all the resource sector.’

Mr Nahan noted a resurgence in gold, iron ore, nickel and lithium and said that the sector is already starting to experience a shortage of workers. He said this boost in mining will attract people to the state, which in turn results in more demand for land and housing.

In terms of the Liberal Party’s position on issues impacting on the property industry, Mr Nahan said that there was risk at a federal level of Labor introducing changes to negative gearing and Capital Gains Tax regimes that may jeopardise the market recovery in WA.

He also outlined key actions that the Liberal Party supports, including a review of Keystart and how that agency can better support first home buyers into the market; removal of the Foreign Investor Surcharge; a re-instatement of the first home owners grant boost; streamlining local government processes; encouraging more positive migration policies that attract more people to WA and identifying the infrastructure needs of Perth in order to become a more vibrant, global city.

Mr Nahan’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion featuring Bankwest Senior Economist Alan Langford, PwC’s Nadia van Dommelen and EY’s Russell Curtin, which touched on a range of key issues for the property industry and the broader WA economy moving forward, including the resurgence of the mining sector, the impact of global market conditions, the new GST distribution arrangement and infrastructure investment.

It was particularly pleasing to hear Bankwest Senior Economist Alan Langford say that he was ‘quietly confident’ that WA’s property market would see a flow on effect from the growth in the mining sector, potentially in the next six to nine months.

Thanks to our industry partners LD Total and Strategen Environmental. Event Sponsor Gough Recruitment and Networking Drinks sponsor APD Engineering.

More photos from the event can be found here.

Local Government Act Reform

UDIA met with representatives from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries to discuss the Local Government Act Review. The Department advised that following the closing of the consultation period for Phase 1 of the review, a draft amendment Bill has been prepared and is anticipated to be introduced into Parliament shortly.

The draft Bill includes provisions to mandate training for all elected members and candidates, as well as setting out a mandatory code of conduct for elected members. Should the Bill progress, the corresponding Regulations will be drafted with likely implementation post the 2019 local government elections.

The Department is currently consulting on 11 issues included in phase 2 of the Review which broadly examine local government financial management arrangements, governance and local laws, and community engagement.

The Department agreed to UDIA’s request for a workshop with UDIA members to discuss Phase 2 of the Review and opportunities for local government reform which will be held in the new year.

Members wishing to attend this workshop or provide feedback on the Review are advised to contact UDIA at

Matching markets in housing and housing assistance

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) released a new study today that identifies five Australian housing markets that could be made more efficient using online technology to match highly specific ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’. The five markets considered are: swaps in public housing; disability accessible housing; low-cost private rental housing brokerage; apartment presales for low/mid income earners; and precinct-level urban redevelopment. The research also proposes solutions to how the matching markets could best operate.

Of particular interest to UDIA members is the recommendation around precinct level urban redevelopment.  UDIA has consistently highlighted that one of the major barriers to achieving good outcomes within infill areas is fragmented land ownership. The AHURI report proposes that a citywide platform is introduced, which can enrol landowners and others at any time, permitting them to indicate their interest in participating in potential redevelopment projects.

More information and the full report available here.

WA’s infrastructure outlook

The Construction Contractors Association of WA (CCA) in conjunction with the Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) has released the 2019 WA Infrastructure Report, which provides an outlook for infrastructure and mining-related construction in WA.

The report notes that the WA economy is finally growing and considers where that growth is likely to be located and the sectors and projects driving it.

There is a listing of major projects over $50 million that are currently happening or in the pipeline across road, rail, ports, water, sewerage, electricity, oil and gas and other minerals.

The full report can be found here.

Two more projects added to priority list

Two METRONET projects have been added to the Infrastructure Priority List after the business cases were assessed by Infrastructure Australia late last week. The Infrastructure Priority List is the authoritative list of nationally significant investments Australia needs over the next 15 years.

The Yanchep Rail Extension has been identified as a High Priority Project and the Thornlie-Cockburn Link as a Priority Project.

It is understood that being added to the priority lists in this way, may assist in securing further federal government funding for the projects.

Water Corp appoints new CEO

Pat Donovan has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Water Corporation, for a term of five years commencing on January 1, 2019. Mr Donovan is currently Water Corporation General Manager Operations – a position he was appointed to in August 2018. He has more than 25 years of experience in the gas utility sector in Australia and Ireland, and prior to recently joining the Water Corporation was President of ATCO Gas Australia.

UDIA congratulates Mr Donovan on his appointment and we look forward to working with him on water related issues impacting on urban development moving forward.

Strata reforms officially law

The Strata reform legislation, comprising the Strata Titles Amendment Act and the Community Titles Act received Royal Assent on Monday November 19, making them now officially law.

The reforms will enable a range of improvements to the management of strata schemes and offer fairer, simpler and cheaper dispute resolution.

Two new forms of strata ownership are now available in WA – Community and Leasehold schemes.

UDIA has been working for several years with Landgate to develop and deliver the new legislation and we congratulation the state government on ensuring the smooth passage of the bills through state parliament.

All the relevant information can be found here.

Subdivisional Guidelines Review

IPWEA-WA and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage are hosting Information Forums on the upcoming Subdivisional Guidelines Review.

It is proposed to review the current document to consider and align with  new or updated WA State planning policies and development control policies, and other relevant policy including: Department of Water and Environmental Regulation guidelines, groundwater management, consideration of contemporary technology and practice (e.g. street lighting, smart controls, innovative construction techniques) and updated further reading references.

The information forums will discuss the proposed review and to invite comments on inclusions and changes and consider how the Public Works industry can participate in this review.

Forum details are here.

Signatures on building permits

An indefinite extension to the Ministerial Order that exempts certain owners of land from the requirement to sign an application for a building permit has been made under section 67(2A) of the Building Act 2011.

The Order applies to all building permit applications for a Class 1 or Class 10 building or incidental structure.

More information here.

First mass timber-framed office development in WA

Yolk Property Group in partnership with Harris Jenkins Architects and Josh Byrne and Associates will deliver a new green commercial development in Fremantle which will be the first mass timber-framed office development in Western Australia.

hArbour is an innovative six-storey project will feature a dense vertical garden across more than half of the building’s exterior and an operable glass façade to circulate fresh air and deliver maximum sunlight to all levels ensuring all occupants are close to a natural light source.

Additional sustainability features that will be incorporated into the project include a solar photovoltaic and battery storage system; sub-metering of electricity and water for each tenancy with demand management software and visualisation; a green façade to aid in thermal protection; an operable façade to ensure emptying of warm air and drawing-in of cool air; storm and grey water collection, distribution and recycling; and a new commercial greywater system using filtration and ozone disinfection to recycle shower and hand basin water to the planters in the green façade.

The development will comprise 1895sqm of office space and 150sqm for a café/bar/retail offering with completion expected mid-2020.

For more information or to register interest visit

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

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.