This week representatives from UDIA WA’s leadership team have been in Melbourne attending the 2024 UDIA National Congress.

This year’s event started on Monday night with a sophisticated evening at the Oliver Hume Opening Night Event held at the National Gallery of Victoria.

On Tuesday morning the official plenary sessions were kicked off with the launch of the 2024 State of the Land report by UDIA National President Col Dutton and the findings of the report have generated extensive media coverage, including on Sky News, ABC News and the Australian Financial Review among many others.

The research partners behind compiling the report including Eliza Owen, CoreLogic, Colin Keane, Research4 and Richard Temlett, Charter Keck Cramer shared their detailed insights on the in a lively panel session facilitated by Turi Condon that followed Col’s presentation.

Following the panel, Luci Ellis Chief Economist at Westpac Group took to the stage and set the scene for what’s on the horizon for the economy and took delegates on a deep dive into current market conditions along with a review of the key macro-economic factors influencing the housing market.

Jennifer Keesmaat, President & CEO of Collecdev-Markee, Ontario, Canada then provided an international perspective on Diversity and Affordability – the challenges facing our cities. A key aspect of her presentation was learning how international cities are delivering homes in the right location and at the right price without sacrificing diversity, affordability and choice.

Tuesday afternoon saw delegates attend one of four different study tours across a range of projects in the Melbourne CBD and surrounds to conclude the first day of this year’s Congress.

Wednesday’s plenary kicked off with Nathan Dal Bon from Housing Australia providing an opening address on the Housing Puzzle and the right levers necessary to ensure we build a more resilient and robust housing system for future generations.

Nathan outlined the key considerations for developers in relation to the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) and the opportunities to keep a solid pipeline of projects moving forward. The program has a focus on speed to market and working collaboratively to affect long lasting change.

Nathan was then joined for a panel discussion facilitated by Turi Condon from Housing Australia with panellists Campbell Hanan, Mirvac and Tracy Longo, Homes for Homes.

This session was followed by a presentation by Kate Meyrick Director at Urbis on Shaping our Future Cities. Kate has been influential in shaping thinking about the global competitiveness of Australian Cities, their future identity and quality of life.

Kate discussed the challenge of revitalising and adding capacity to our cities as she took delegates around the world reviewing best practice cities, such as Vancouver, Singapore, Paris, London and Melbourne.

Kate was then joined for a panel discussion facilitated by our very own UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck, with panellists Brendan Coates, Economic Policy Program Director, Grattan Institute and Natalie Rayment, Executive Director, Wolter Consulting Group.

The third session on Wednesday focused on Emerging Housing Forms with Professor Mathew Aitchison, CEO of Building 4.0 CRC as he focused on three items: 1. There are solutions out there; 2. There are useful frameworks to help understand innovation; and 3. Hope is not a strategy.

Following Professor Aitchison’s presentation, he was joined for a panel discussion facilitated by Oscar Stanley, Vice President of UDIA National and General Manager of Development at ABN Group, with Kyle Donovan, utecture and Wayne Larsen (RegPracLog), PT Blink as they discussed the big disruptors that will turn the way we design housing on its head. Delegates at the Congress heard about the little details that change the way we construct and deliver housing.

An International Showcase session provided by Andrew McKenzie, the first Chief Executive of Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities concluded the morning session of the final day of Congress as he provided insights from several urban development global heavyweight projects that are setting new benchmarks in innovation, sustainability and living.

Following the lunch break Mark Farmer, CEO and Co-Founder of Cast Consultancy, presented on the Construction Industry’s Progress Towards Modernisation. In his hour-long session Mark used his comprehensive understanding of our industry, the opportunities and challenges, together with the relevant examples he shared from the UK in what was described as an exceptional session.

Concluding the plenary sessions for this year Dean Boxall, Olympic and World-renowned swimming coach, delivered the closing keynote address focusing on Mind Fit, Match Fit in an energetic, hilarious, thought provoking and motivating presentation.

Wednesday culminated in the UDIA National Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner, with WA projects picking up five awards, including the overall Project of the Year Award, providing further evidence that West is best as we continue to showcase the incredible quality being produced in WA.