UDIA WA appoints new CEO

In case you missed the news yesterday, UDIA WA is pleased to announce that Tanya Steinbeck has been appointed as the new CEO, taking over from Allison Hailes in mid-November.

Ms Steinbeck has a wealth of property development industry experience in WA across the private, government and peak body sectors and currently holds the position of Executive Director – Regional Services Reform Unit at the Department of Communities.

UDIA WA President Nick Allingame said that Ms Steinbeck has a proven track record in senior management roles and will bring dynamic, informed and strong leadership to the Institute so that we can continue to successfully represent our members, work collaboratively with government and promote best practice in property development in our state.

For more information, view our Member Alert here.

Labor’s plan to end negative gearing challenged

The UDIA has welcomed research from the Master Builders Association (MBA) highlighting the potential negative impacts on the property industry of changing policies on capital gains tax and negative gearing.

The findings are consistent with our concern that Labor’s policy to limit negative gearing and halve the CGT discount will discourage investment in new property, even where these properties have the potential for negative gearing in the short term.

According to modelling prepared for the MBA by Cadence Economics, if Labor’s policies are implemented it will mean up to 42,000 less new dwellings being built across the country; up to 32,000 less full time jobs; up to $11.8 billion less building activity; and up to $210 million less renovation building activity.

UDIA’s National Executive Director Kirk Coningham has advised that part of the attraction for ‘mum and dad’ investors has always been the prospect of capital gain, but under this policy their eventual resale of that property will be restricted to owner occupiers.

“This has the effect of reducing the potential field of buyers of that property by about one third, and therefore almost certainly reducing final sale price. Then the tax on that potentially significantly smaller capital gain is then increased by 50 per cent,” Mr Coningham said.

Part of the policy intent is to reduce demand from investors in established housing stock. Our fear is this policy would also significantly reduce demand in new housing stock.

UDIA believes that increasing property sector taxes will not improve housing affordability. Instead, governments should be looking to supply-side solutions including streamlining planning processes, reducing extra taxation on homebuyers and funding critical infrastructure.

The full MBA report can be found here.

Labour Force data represents promise as outlook for WA brightens

According to the latest Labour Force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Western Australia’s unemployment rate fell 42 basis points (bps) over September to sit at 6.0%.

Even further encouragement can be gained in the fact that the number of employed persons in WA lifted 0.5% month-on-month in September to 1.428 million, 1.2% higher than in September 2017.

WA’s state participation rate remained steady at 68.2%, 49bps above levels at the same time last year and 296.3bps higher than the national rate of 65.3%.

As we slowly see more positive economic data flow through in WA, it is important that the government works to continue that growth trajectory and supports sectors such as the property industry that are so critical to broader economic prosperity.

UDIA will host a luncheon featuring the Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Mike Nahan on Friday 16 November where he will outline the opposition’s position on a range of issues impacting on the property industry including attracting more people to WA; the strata and planning reform agendas; infrastructure planning and investment; and taxation reform.

The Opposition’s take on these critical issues is important given that with the minor parties they hold the balance of power in the Upper House.

For more information about this event and to register visit here.

Community Sector Forum – MetroNet as a mechanism to deliver social and affordable housing

UDIA’s CEO Allison Hailes spoke this week at a Shelter WA Forum on MetroNet as a catalyst and mechanism to deliver more diverse and affordable housing through targeted precinct developments.  Allison spoke about the status of the property market, the current systemic barriers to greater diversity and affordability, the policy initiatives that would enable the private sector to deliver more affordable housing and the opportunities that exist for more partnerships between the private, government and community housing sectors.  Allison also outlined the need for State leadership and a whole of government approach to the development of the new precinct plans,  with clear implementation strategies and targets for achieving the outcomes desired in each new precinct.

UDIA Member Briefing: Alternative Bushfire, Approval and Vegetation compliance pathways

Last week UDIA held a member briefing hosted by Strategen Environmental to discuss Alternative Bushfire, Approval and Vegetation Compliance Pathways for Land Development Projects. The topic proved to be very popular with over 60 UDIA members attending.

Linden Wears and Dale Newsome of Strategen provided a useful insight into the practical challenges of securing development approvals in bushfire prone areas using Rottenest’s Pinky Beach as a case study and offered some thoughtful solutions for improving the existing approval process.

UDIA will continue to advocate for a more effective response to managing bushfire risk and welcomes member feedback on the issue, which can be provided to policy@udiawa.com.au.

If you would like a copy of Linden and Dale’s informative presentation, please email info@strategen.com.au

UDIA Member Briefing: Compact Housing – Australia’s Journey & Perth’s Future

Last night, over 60 UDIA member representatives attended the UDIA Member Briefing hosted by James Hardie discussing Compact Housing: Australia’s Journey & Perth’s Future. Craig Oatway, provided an in-depth overview of how emerging building technologies, changing design trends, changing labour skillsets and increasing regulations are evolving housing construction methods.

Examining a range of case studies from across Australia and here in WA, it was encouraging to see the possibilities that alternative construction methods can achieve. Craig provided insight into projects including Fitzgibbon Chase in Brisbane; Crace in Canberra; Wright Street in Highgate, Perth and the Verge Microlot Precinct in Ellenbrook.

UDIA thanks our Built Form Development partner James Hardie for providing this insightful briefing. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of Craig’s presentation, please contact him direct:  craig.oatway@jameshardie.com.au

Strata Title Bill continues through Parliament     

Late last week, the Hon Dr Sally Talbot MLC, Chair of the Standing Committee on Legislation, tabled the Committee’s report into Part 12 of the Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018 in Parliament.  The Bill was referred to the Committee in September, due to concerns about the provisions for Termination of Strata Title Schemes and whether they provided sufficient safeguards for vulnerable people.

The Committee received evidence about a broad range of issues arising from Part 12 of the Bill (Termination of Strata Title Schemes) with some stakeholders expressing concerns, whilst others indicated support for the proposed reforms.  In response, the Committee’s Report notes that having considered the evidence presented, the Committee generally supports the policy behind Part 12 and the process it provides for the termination of strata titles schemes. The Committee has stated that it “is satisfied, in the main, that Part 12 contains adequate procedural safeguards and oversight by the Tribunal”. 

Nonetheless, the Committee has provided a total of 10 recommendations that it believes will further enhance the safeguards in place for those subject to a termination process. These include a requirement that following the receipt of a full termination proposal, the strata company must refer it to an independent advocate to review the proposal, identify vulnerable owners and provide those owners with additional advice as to their entitlements under the relevant legislation.

The Legislative Council is currently debating the Committee’s recommendations and Government amendments concerning Part 12. Given the Parliamentary support for the Bill, UDIA is hopeful that the Bill will be passed through Parliament in the near future. UDIA will keep members informed of progress.

The Committee’s report and current version of the Strata Titles Amendment Bill are available here.

Housing Industry Forecasting Group Meets

UDIA met with other key industry representatives as part of the Housing Industry Forecasting Group (HIFG) annual meeting this week to discuss dwelling commencement forecasts for 2018-19. The Group discussed a number of socio-economic factors affecting housing supply and demand along with a range of emerging industry challenges.

It is anticipated that the HIFG final report and dwelling forecast for 2018-19 will be available in November. UDIA will keep members informed of progress.

Henley Brook rezoning approved

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has approved the rezoning of more than 260 hectares of land between Ellenbrook and Brabham. The land in Henley Brook – surrounded by Lord Street, Gnangara Road and Park Street – has been rezoned from Rural to Urban in the Metropolitan Region Scheme.

The Minister says that the transfer of the amendment area to urban will not prevent existing landowners from continuing to use their properties for current purposes, but will provide planning certainty for those who wish to further develop their properties in the future.

Local government road funding

The State Government has approved a new five-year State Road Funds to Local Government Agreement which guarantees councils receive 20 per cent of total State vehicle licence fee collections.

The agreement means the pool of funding shared by local governments will escalate from $182.3 million in 2018-19 to an estimated $203.4 million in 2022-23. This is compared to a decline to $150.4 million in 2015-16 under the previous Liberal National Government.

In addition to funding under this agreement, the State Government is committed to funding about $260 million of other works on the local government road network between 2018-19 and 2021-22.

Under the new agreement, funding will be split into two categories.

The local government managed programs will receive 66 per cent of annual funding in direct grants, road project grants, State Black Spot allocations and for strategic and technical support.

The remaining 34 per cent of funding goes to the Main Roads managed programs, which include State initiatives on local roads, bridgeworks and bridge inspections, and remote Aboriginal access roads.

Have your say on Westport

Westport is the State Government’s taskforce investigating the best freight network (road/rail) and port solutions to meet Perth’s growing needs in the long-term future.

Westport has launched an online consultation portal at mysaytransport.wa.gov.au/westport and is encouraging everyone, especially local communities, to provide their feedback.

The portal currently allows people to leave comments on an interactive map and will also have surveys, polls, interactive forums and submission forms. People can have their say on important topics such as the environment, land use and transport planning.

Westport is committed to undertaking a consultative, data-driven process, and we are considering all input provided to us. We encourage you to promote mysaytransport.wa.gov.au/Westport amongst your networks and ask them to provide their feedback on a vital long-term planning project.

New report: emerging and disruptive technologies and the implications for the housing system

A new report by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) examines emerging and disruptive technologies and the implications for the housing system.

It provides a wide-ranging and critical review of how different emerging digital and disruptive technologies such as block chain and AI are being incorporated into the housing, housing welfare and planning systems, and how they might lead to greater efficiencies and new opportunities, but also create new challenges and complexity.

In particular, the report looks at digital planning systems and the potential to do initial assessments of planning proposals, particularly for smaller developments and what that could mean for the planning process.

More details here.

Plan to attract more international students

The state government has launched a plan that it hopes will attract thousands more international students to Western Australia ‘Where Bright Futures Begin: International Education in Perth, Western Australia 2018-2025’.

The strategy, developed in partnership with StudyPerth, will guide future government and industry action, and is focused on growing the number of international students coming to study in Western Australia.

Western Australia currently has more than 50,000 students living and learning in Perth, and they are a key contributor to the WA economy.

While attracting more students to WA is an important aspect of building our economy, UDIA has also advocated for the state government to market Perth more broadly to attract more people to the state, recommending that the state government works with the federal government to establish a positive migrant settlement strategy that focuses on attracting and retaining people in WA.

More information about the state government’s strategy can be found here.

UDIA National Congress keynote speaker announced

The 2019 closing keynote for the UDIA National Congress will be Michael Marks, Chairman and Co-Founder of leading Silicon Valley start-up Katerra, who are on a mission to revolutionise the way buildings are constructed.

Katerra is redefining the multi-trillion-dollar US construction industry and is a one-stop-shop for buildings from architectural design through to construction.

Marks joins an impressive line-up of international and local speakers including Saul Eslake, Richard Florida and Gea Sijpkes.

More information here.