Taylor Burrell Barnett

Wrap up of the UDIA WA 2022 State Conference


Mark Bancroft

07 Mar 2022

Mark Bancroft provides a wrap up of the UDIA WA 2022 State Conference held in Bunker Bay March 2022.

This year’s conference explored the opportunities and constraints to government and private industry working more seamlessly within UDIA’s core policy areas of Liveability, Environment and Economy.

After a warm welcome to country ceremony on Wednesday evening, a welcome function provided all delegates with an opportunity to meet, greet and relax ahead of the formal start to the conference.

Day 1

Thursday mornings program included highly informative keynote speeches from Diane Smith-Gander and Aaron Morey and discussion panels addressing the State’s economic health and forecasting, highlighting the industry challenges of skilled worker and materials availability, vital to deliver the significant number of approved projects not able to be commenced.

The opening of WA borders will now provide the opportunity for increased resourcing of skilled workers improving the potential to meet anticipated population growth also associated with opening of borders. Influential tax issues were also explored in panel discussion, analysing the implications that stamp duty tax has on the flexibility for home owners to exchange their dwelling types as their family and lifecycle demands alter. Reform to stamp duty current arrangements along with the manner in which land tax is applied to ‘build-to-rent’ developments were identified as key items that would bring meaningful advantages to the industry in terms of diversity of living options. The details of Streamline WA were explained with the welcome intent of increasing collaboration between Government and private industry. This collaboration at Director General level is intended to remove existing silo mentality in its focus to learn from one another in implementing innovative outcomes to benefit our communities.

DevelopmentWA shared their advances with their exciting portfolio of Innovation Through Demonstration projects, examples of game changing prototypes to lead exploration of alternative development approaches and outcomes. TBB are extremely excited and proud to be involved in many of these strategic initiatives and are grateful to DevelopmentWA for entrusting such vital work to our firm.

After lunch, the theme shifted to Environment, with Hon Reece Whitby detailing with great passion the current and planned Government initiatives for Environment and Climate Action. Natural vegetation retention, mitigation of the urban heat island effect, water resourcing, and innovation in managing construction and demolition waste were each identified as key matters to be addressed. Similarly, Director General of DWER, Michelle Andrews explained the dedication that DWER have towards industry as their key customer base, and to the procedural reforms underway to enhance the collaboration between public and private industry.

The sustainability of the existing natural environment and introduced urban landscapes was then discussed in a passionate presentation by Emerges’ Peta-Maree Ashford. Business as usual practices in urban development and the relationship between private and public realm need to be challenged, with current Government approvals/policies facilitating very poor outcomes in urban landscapes. A thorough peer analysis by Peta-Maree identified key focus areas for industry and government to collaborate on improving the design, implementation and maintenance of sustainable outcomes.

The day was finished off with an insight into the impressive sustainability initiatives that Hesperia as the developer of Rivermark in Viveash are committed too. The project was recently given a 6 leaf Envirodevelopment certification – one of the first such certifications in WA for some time (learn more here).

The day closed off with a relaxed sunset cocktail function on the Bunker Bay Resorts’ terrace, with live music, conversations and the occasional drink.

Day 2

Friday mornings program was themed around Liveability, discussing housing choice, affordability, supply and the pressures of population growth. Grant Dusting of McCrindle described the arrival of a ‘Paradigm for Change’ with a shifting expectation of WA’s population regarding housing diversity, location and supporting amenity. In response to a rise in the median population age to 37, there has been a shift in the focus of the City to a Central Lifestyle District where the city provides more than just a job, with a developing sense of community established through meaningful and regular social interaction.

Following an excellent introduction from TBB’s very own Samantha Thompson, whom all delegates were informed has just celebrated 30 magnificent years of service with TBB, the Minister for Transport, Planning and Ports The Hon Rita Saffioti provided a detailed review of the second round of planning reform, the progress of planning policies underway, Metronet delivery achievements and the incorporation of second tier public transport infrastructure improvements. These are being supported by the introduction of an electric bus trial underway in Joondalup, and an evaluation of electric scooter libraries to support heavy rail station patronage. Mike Rowe DG of Communities detailed their concerted effort and program to address housing supply and pressures exasperated by the median house price now reaching a level 6 times the median wage. With a 20/21 budget increase to $875M total, the Department of Communities will be able to increase their delivery of safe, secure and sustainable homes to Western Australians in need of assistance.

A panel discussion facilitated by TBB’s Lex Barnett then brought this all together with additional insights from Tony Brun and Tanya Trevisan who joined Hon Rita Saffioti and Mike Rowe in exploring the challenges associated with the delivery of diverse, affordable and appropriate housing to address infill targets and population demands. This examined the role of the State Government owned Development Land EOI joint venture development opportunities, market led proposals, NCC 2019 implications on Class 2A buildings, and the divestment of larger DoC landholdings of greater than 30 dwellings to DevelopmentWA. It was agreed by all that the impending Medium Density Code SPP (4-6 months) will bring a welcome uplift in the quality of medium density development that is currently being delivered in local government infill neighbourhoods. Following a short break, Rabia Siddique shared her courageous personal life experiences to portray authentic leadership, equality and resilience. In closing, Rabia encouraged all delegates to take risks, to be vulnerable, to be brave and to hold policies that are not serving their purpose to account. It was an extremely powerful and moving message and we commend Rabia on her bravery, resilience and forgiveness that have empowered others to tell their own story.

A wonderful long lunch at Meelup Farmhouse, Eagle Bay brought conference proceedings to an end where some of us lucky ones were able to linger a little longer in the magnificent South West…..and that brought an end to a very successful and highly informative 2022 UDIA WA Conference.

TBB was a proud sponsor of this event alongside DevelopmentWA, Lendlease and Western Power. We congratulate UDIA on putting on an exceptional, informative and enjoyable program in very trying and uncertain circumstances.

View photos from the conference on the UDIA WA website here



Mark Bancroft