The recent spate of COVID-19 outbreaks confirm it still represents a health and economic challenge to the nation.

UDIA National spent much of the past year focused on endeavours and initiatives designed to sustain the housing and construction industry through the economic effects of COVID-19.

We do know the importance of continuing to look over the horizon for the next round of challenges and opportunities facing the housing construction industry.

Promoting Our Policy Agenda

Over the past three months, we have secured some important victories, as well as deepened involvement in debates crucial to the housing construction industry.

  • Housing StimulusUDIA National’s advocacy paid dividends when the Commonwealth allocated 10,000 places exclusively allocated to new housing construction under the First Home Loan Deposit Gap Scheme (first announced in last year’s October Budget). Another tranche of places – along with revised price thresholds was allocated in the May Budget. Importantly, these are available to the apartment market, which we know has softened significantly since immigration ceased. In addition, there are 10,000 guarantees made available to eligible single parent families to build a new home or purchase an existing home which is a great initiative.
  • EPBC Act Reform – Two pieces of legislation that serve as fundamental pillars to driving efficiency and reducing complexity for projects affected by the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act are now before the Senate. We have been meeting with cross bench Senators and their offices to make the case for the bills. In June, UDIA National also participated in a roundtable with Environment Minister Sussan Ley on the reforms.
  • Immigration and Population Growth – The Government’s Budget forecast international borders will effectively remain closed till mid-2022. However, we are urging them to develop a coherent and robust plan to reintegration of Net Overseas Migration as soon as health protocols allow, with the goal of progressively closing the ‘gap’ caused by the pandemic.
  • Housing Supply and Affordability – UDIA National has held several sessions with the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) over the past 12 months to shape its research mandate and improve reporting on barriers to housing supply. We are meeting with them in coming weeks to provide market insights on land shortages across the nation.
  • National Construction Code (NCC) – We have lodged a submission to the consultation that recently closed on proposed revisions to the NCC. In particular, we zeroed in on anticipated changes to accessibility provisions arising from a recent meeting of the nation’s building ministers. Our submission made the case for substantial exemptions required, as well as a three-year transition period, if the changes are to proceed.
  • Tax – whilst NSW continues to promote potential tax reforms, some other states are heading in the opposite direction. The most egregious example is Victoria, where sweeping increases and new taxes on rezonings are proposed. UDIA National has been vocal against the changes, in support of the strong campaign led by our Victorian Division.

Strategy Development

UDIA National is busy working in collaboration with our state divisions on our FY22 National Strategy for the organisation. It will steer our strategic and operational focus, but crucially set the tone and direction of our policy and political advocacy as we head towards the next Federal Election.

As always, our priorities are squarely informed by member feedback and steer towards policy objectives that ensure Australians have better prospects for home ownership, our industry operates in a less burdensome regulatory environment, and we can get on with the job of providing more affordable housing supply.

Congress 2022

Planning is underway for our “in person” UDIA National Congress proposed to be held in late March 2022. We look forward to providing members with an agenda that is full of fascinating speakers, industry insights. Stay tuned.

Simon Basheer

UDIA National President