Positive community engagement and clear policy is the key to achieving successful infill development that meets the needs of current and future residents in Perth was the key message at an Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA) event held today.

At a luncheon featuring a panel of local government mayors from South Perth, Nedlands and Subiaco entitled “The Challenges of Change”, participants discussed how Perth will accommodate a growing population, potentially out to 3.5 million in the next 20 to 30 years.

“There is no doubt that many local governments are feeling the pressure of delivering on the state government’s increased infill targets,” UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said.

“As Perth grows and our population ages, we need a diversity of housing in a range of areas to accommodate different lifestyle needs,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“That means for some established areas, there has been and there will continue to be, an increase in density and an increase in the types of housing that is being delivered around activity nodes and along transport corridors,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“Done well, infill development can bring a lot of benefits to an area including increased vibrancy, services and amenities,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“However, there is often a disconnect between what local residents want and what is beneficial for future generations and this can be difficult to balance,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“There is also a common problem of the vocal minority in local areas putting up resistance to change, when it is the silent majority that might be welcoming it,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“We need to work out how we can have these conversations in a way that all perspectives are heard, and industry, state and local government can work together to implement a clear vision and plan for a local activity centre or precinct,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“Much of the resistance to infill development has occurred in places where local planning schemes and strategies are out of date and have not kept pace with changing expectations and new housing targets,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“One of the key elements to achieving quality design outcomes is to ensure that there is a clear vision in place for an area from the outset,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“Where there has been a failure to clearly articulate a plan, this has created uncertainty for the community and the development industry alike,” Ms Steinbeck said. “This leads to poor outcomes, or, as we have seen on many occasions, a lack of progress on many potentially fantastic projects due to a lack of leadership from decision makers.”

Clear guidance and principles also assist in driving excellence in the design of new medium and high-density homes.

“UDIA is keen to see the government progress a Medium Density Housing Code that will guide the delivery of a more diverse range of medium density housing options to the WA market,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“That type of clear policy, in conjunction with ensuring that local governments have appropriate precinct plans in place, will provide greater certainty for all stakeholders and much better outcomes for local communities,” Ms Steinbeck said.


For more information:
Gemma Osiejak
Executive Manager Communications and Marketing
P: 0421 506 819
E: gosiejak@udiawa.com.au