UDIA NSW backing regulatory building reform

Monday 31 August 2020 (Sydney, Australia) — From 1 September 2020, the NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler OAM will have wide-ranging powers to stop work on defective buildings to prevent any building products showing signs of serious defects from entering the market. UDIA NSW CEO Steve Mann says the changes are being welcomed by quality operators in the industry as a move to restore confidence and stop the tarring of good developers with bad news stories emanating from a small percentage of risky developers, builders and certifiers.

“There have been clear economic impacts from the crisis in confidence, compounded by the economic impacts of COVID-19. This has only served to highlight the importance of rebuilding the trust of homebuyers and providing certainty in their choices.

The Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson and the Building Commissioner are providing a clear path forward for industry. The oversight from the Office of the Building Commissioner will give homebuyers the confidence in their purchases and allow them to return to the property market and know that there is regulatory oversight on major defects.

“The industry and government are united in making sure developers are strictly adhering to best practice, and these new powers are an important part of verifying that process.

“Ultimately, developers have a reputation in the market which they rely on for their pre-sales and marketing. Developers are 100% on board with providing the best product for Australian homebuyers,” said Mr Mann.

UDIA NSW has signalled this “new era” as one where homebuyers can purchase with confidence. The Building Commissioner’s plans for the industry will help empower buyers with more information and greater transparency.

The development industry is united behind the Building Commissioner – we look forward to working together to see a return to confidence in the development and construction industry.

UDIA NSW has always advocated for a ‘no surprises’ approach to building regulation. We believe the Minister has reached a fair middle ground to do necessary checks and allow time to rectify where a development needs some adjustments.

– ENDS

 

Media Enquiries:
Mia Kwok 0435 361 697 or media@udiansw.com.au.

 

Download PDF version here.

Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal

UDIA is part of a coalition of peak bodies and councils working on an Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal proposal to the Federal and NSW Governments. If approved, a City Deal would deliver transformative change to the region and generate thousands of jobs and billions in revenue from key sectors of Aviation, Marine, Visitor Economy, Waste Management, the Arts and Civic Infrastructure.

In 2016, the Australian Government began entering into City Deals to support economic development in specific communities. A City Deal represents a partnership between a community and all 3 levels of government focused on jobs creation and renewal. The Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal proposal would include the Wollongong, Kiama, Shellharbour, Illawarra and Shoalhaven LGAs and is being developed by:

  • RDA Illawarra
  • RDA Far South Coast
  • Shoalhaven City Council
  • Kiama Municipal Council
  • Shellharbour City Council
  • Wollongong City Council
  • Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation
  • Illawarra Business Chamber
  • UDIA
  • Property Council
  • University of Wollongong
  • Smart Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong

The prospectus outlines 10 key projects for delivery, representing $148.5m Federal, $589.5 State, $47m council and $90m private investment.

  • Business case for the South West Illawarra Rail Link (SWIRL)
  • Picton Road Duplication and Mt Ousley Interchange
  • M1 Albion Park on/off ramps
  • Development of Albatross Aviation Technology Precinct
  • Wollongong Entertainment Centre Precinct
  • Blue Highway: Develop a Cruise, Boating and Voyaging Network
  • Kiama Arts and Cultural Precinct
  • Develop Nowra Waterfront Mixed-Use Precinct
  • Circular Economy and Reduced Waste to Landfill
  • Implementation Plan and delivery of Smart City Regional Projects

The coalition will present their proposal to governments in the near future.

New TfNSW Director Appointed for Regions

In response to UDIA’s work with the Reference Group advocating for improvements at TfNSW, an additional key resource has been added to coordinate regional land use planning. Starting 31 August, Damien Pfeiffer will assume the newly-created role of Director Land Use Planning, Regional and Outer Metropolitan at TfNSW.

Damien will report to the Executive Director Community and Place at TfNSW and will oversee the land use and WAD functions for the regions. Damien comes to the role from DPIE where he is currently the Director Regions, Western. UDIA looks forward to working with Damien as we progress the ongoing work of the Reference Group to address the process, resource and cultural obstacles to development at TfNSW especially in the Hunter and Central Coast.

 

Bushfire recommendations to impact existing landowners

Bushfire Report Recommendations

The Premier accepted all 76 recommendations in the Independent Inquiry on Bushfires. Critically, for the development sector, the Inquiry found that while the planning system incorporates extensive and generally effective bush fire resilience into all developments on designated bush fire prone land, there is an opportunity to develop a more proactive and strategic approach to managing the increasing risk presented by bush fires.   

To overcome this in the longer term, the inquiry recommends Government should move towards a model based on the NSW Flood Prone Land Policy so that it can take a whole-of-government strategic planning approach to transition those buildings and places at the greatest risk of an event to other more appropriate uses, including potential acquisition, and provide greater certainty when deciding where new development should be located. UDIA has written to the Department to request clarification on what that means.  

In the shorter term, the inquiry recommends Government should take a range of measures to improve education, compliance, auditing and enforcement in respect of bush fire standards for local developments and assets this could include: 

  • prepare, in association with the insurance sector, a model framework and statutory basis for the establishment of an enforcement, compliance and education program which adopts a risk-based approach to routine inspection of local bush fire prone developments to ensure that every local development on bush fire prone land is prepared for future bush fire seasons in accordance with bush fire protection standards of the day, that account for worsening conditions  
  • ensure local government is resourced to enable effective audit, enforcement and compliance powers in respect of local developments and assets on bush fire land 
  • consider the introduction of subsidies for property owners to undertake site mitigation works to reduce bush fire risk and work with the Insurance Council of Australia to develop an agreed set of measures to insure against with a view to risk reductions resulting in lower insurance premiums 

In many cases these short-term actions seem to impact existing landowners. UDIA strongly believes that Planning for Bushfire Protection should not be amended, and we made a submission to the Inquiry.  

UDIA NSW has written to the Department of Planning seeking further clarification to the next steps of implementation and implications for land use planning. 

UDIA NSW welcomes Smart Places Strategy

UDIA NSW congratulates NSW Government on the launch of the new Smart Places Strategy.

The Strategy includes an Action Plan which details delivery timelines for an array of smart infrastructure and strategies, and will establish the critical Smart Western City program as well as innovation precincts throughout Parramatta and regional centres.

“Industry and government need to embrace the bold planning of the future city, particularly in our newest and emerging cities where there is potential to lay the groundwork for future growth and economic prosperity” said UDIA NSW CEO Steve Mann.

“The Western Parkland City will be home to over 1.5 million people by 2036 and we are the industry that needs to turn this Aerotropolis into a liveable, affordable and connected city,” said Mr Mann.

“Big data is going to improve productivity, increase transparency and form cohesive urban planning between government and industry,” said Mr Mann.

“This is bigger than IoT and smart tech; this Action Plan provides the digital foundations for a new way to carry out planning and urban development across NSW.”

Earlier this year, UDIA NSW announced a strategic partnership with technology start up, Urban Pinboard. UDIA NSW’s Urban Development Program and Urban Pinboard will integrate with the Smart Places Strategy to create greater planning transparency across industry, government and the public.

“UDIA NSW has been on the cutting edge of technology development and innovation to develop new ways to deliver best practice planning and urban development,” said Mr Mann.

Urban Pinboard is currently being used to for UDIA NSW’s Urban Development Program (UDP) Stage 2 pilot focussed on South West Sydney in collaboration with DPIE, Sydney Water and Local Authorities. The UDP will act as a “single source of truth” for an agreed outlook for land release, development and infrastructure outlay. Urban Pinboard also has vast potential to change the way industry communicates by providing a live, interactive and digestible format to the broader community.

Western City and Aerotropolis Authority Amendment (Operational Area) Regulation 2020

Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Regulation 2020 

The Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Regulation 2020 was gazetted today. The Regulation confirms the penalty amounts payable under the Residential Apartment Building (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 that may be dealt with by way of penalty notice and amounts payable. It will also enable local councils to enter into information sharing arrangements with the Secretary to support the effective delivery of the legislation.  

 

Provision  Penalty – individuals  Penalty – corporations 
Failure to notify the Secretary of intended completion of building work  $3,000  $11,000 
Failure to notify changes to an expected date  $1,500  $5,500 
Issuing an occupation certificate in contravention of a prohibition order  $3,000  $11,000 
Owners corporation failing to give notice to owners of lots in the strata scheme of receipt of notice for of making a building work rectification  N/A  $220 
Owners corporation failing to provide notice to owners of lots in the strata scheme of the receipt of notice for the Secretary’s intention to make a building work rectification order  N/A  $220 

 

From the CEO’s desk 13.08.2020

This speech was presented by UDIA NSW CEO Steve Mann at the UDIA TV Signature Series event on Build to Rent. 

 

The Build-to-Rent sector has been on the cusp of broader appeal in Australia for the last few years, but has not broken through with government. The concept, which is a mainstay sector in the US and much of Europe has taken off in recent years in various Asian countries and in the UK, yet it is still only starting to find its feet in Australia. Build -to-Rent has the potential to be the biggest innovation in the Australian housing market since Strata Title legislation was introduced in the 60s and we want Australia to robustly embrace BtR and to give developers a new market and the housing market a much-needed boost in diversified rental supply.

Build-to-rent offers the Australian residential sector an important factor of diversity which it has struggled to attain, in addition to heightened liveability, affordability, and connectivity for our cities and regions.

Firstly, Liveability: we want our housing products to form part of the 30-minute city. This means walkable communities, sustainable building practices and plenty of amenity to service the needs of the local community.

Secondly, Affordability: build-to-rent is offering us a once-in-a-generation chance to change the way property is perceived in Australia. The concept of long-term renting has been embraced for decades across Western Europe and the US and more recently in the UK. But in Australia we have been slow in getting the policy settings right for this sector to emerge. The potential advantages of creating a mixed-tenure of government supported affordable and market affordable housing for build-to-rent model far outweigh the costs. Build-to-rent creates options and choices in some of the most expensive property markets in the world – and could do the same in Sydney and Melbourne. We owe it to Australians to take the right steps forward to enable BtR.

Connectivity. This is something that the build-to-rent model offers in spades. Not only are we building long term communities through shared spaces, but we are building in long term community values through engagement strategies and the latest philosophies of placemaking. Also related to connectivity is that BtR works best around transit stations, as evidenced in London where circa 90% of BtR schemes are within 800m of a tube or rail station. Building BtR in airspace above or adjacent to rail and metro stations confers great accessibility advantages to residents in terms of employment, education and recreation.

Build-to-rent is a housing format which needs to be enabled by government. Recently we have had several briefing sessions with DPIE about BtR and the policy leavers for both State and Federal government to drive growth in this market.

We have seen the NSW Government come to the table recently with a 50%adjustment to land tax, which sees this form of housing placed on a level playing field as other residential models. What we need is to see further exemptions to land tax, we need GST settings which encourage and reward more innovative developers and GST credits which will bring build-to-rent further into the mainstream.

This housing model should not be limited to those developers who are willing to take on the high taxes and charges associated with BtR.

With the correct policy settings in place, there has been a huge uptake in Build-to-Rent investments in Europe and the USA. The UK Build-to-Rent sector has emerged over the last five years and has seen a 600% increase from the 23,000 BtR units recorded in Q4 2013, or an average growth rate of 45% per annum.

Despite the lack of policy support, CBRE reports that there are 11,000 BtR units in the development pipeline across 30+ projects across Australia.

We are eager today to hear more from our guest speakers and experts in build-to-rent on why this model is the right fit for Australia and what we can learn from our international counterparts to create a successful build-to-rent market in Australia.

 


 

Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal

In 2016, the Australian Government began entering into City Deals to support economic development in specific communities. A City Deal represents a partnership between a community and all 3 levels of government focused on jobs creation and renewal. The Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal proposal would include the Wollongong, Kiama, Shellharbour, Illawarra and Shoalhaven LGAs and is being developed by:

  • RDA Illawarra
  • RDA Far South Coast
  • Shoalhaven City Council
  • Kiama Municipal Council
  • Shellharbour City Council
  • Wollongong City Council
  • Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation
  • Illawarra Business Chamber
  • UDIA
  • Property Council
  • University of Wollongong
  • Smart Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong

The prospectus outlines 10 key projects for delivery, representing $148.5m Federal, $589.5 State, $47m council and $90m private investment.

  • Business case for the South West Illawarra Rail Link (SWIRL)
  • Picton Road Duplication and Mt Ousley Interchange
  • M1 Albion Park on/off ramps
  • Development of Albatross Aviation Technology Precinct
  • Wollongong Entertainment Centre Precinct
  • Blue Highway: Develop a Cruise, Boating and Voyaging Network
  • Kiama Arts and Cultural Precinct
  • Develop Nowra Waterfront Mixed-Use Precinct
  • Circular Economy and Reduced Waste to Landfill
  • Implementation Plan and delivery of Smart City Regional Projects

The coalition will present their proposal to governments in the near future.

Port Stephens Council

UDIA has regular stakeholder engagement meeting with all our local councils. Interested members are encouraged to contact Elizabeth York at eyork@udiansw.com.au to be included in future meetings.

Port Stephens Council

UDIA met with Tim Crosdale, Kate Drinan, Janelle Gardner and Will Oxley on 28 August.

  • Council Resourcing: currently recruiting for 2 planners.
  • Strategic Planning: DCP amendment to implement changes to enable infill housing is currently in the works; council is hopeful for gateway by the end of the year. The employment and industrial lands study is currently in the scoping phase, with industry consultation being planned. PSC received $600,000 state grant funding for Raymond Terrace and Nelson Bay town centre public domain projects. Council is currently considering submissions to the Nelson Bay strategy. The Williamtown SAP has been announced, and council is currently working with NSW Government in its masterplan investigations to finalise the site footprint; the masterplan process is expected to take 12-18 months.
  • Assessment: The initial reduction in applications early in the year recovered massively, with the first half of 2020 finishing on par with the first half of 2019 in terms of numbers, and higher in terms of value. DA assessment timeframes continue to reduce, with the median now at 27 days. Referrals are generally tracking well, with a couple complex notable exceptions.
  • Acceleration: PSC will participate in DPIE’s Council Accelerated Assessment Program, and have had engagement already with the new Planning Delivery Unit (PDU) on how it can assist in unlocking some stalled assessments. Council is focused on more upfront engagement with planning proposal proponents.
  • Local Infrastructure Delivery: Council has updated its processes to directly align contributions with the Strategic Asset Management Plan forward works plan.

Biodiversity: Avoid & Minimise

Following a meeting of the Hunter and Central Coast Biodiversity Working Group last month, UDIA met with Biodiversity & Conservation Division (EES) staff last week to outline our concerns with implementation of the Biodiversity Conservation Act. They would like to hear more examples of the range of Avoid & Minimise applications. Send any examples to Elizabeth or directly to bam.support@environment.nsw.gov.au.

The Hunter and Central Coast Biodiversity Working Group met on 27 July and identified three areas of focus:

Assessment

The Avoid & Minimise provision is too open to interpretation and application by individual councils.

  • The range of outcomes is vast and unpredictable, with some councils accepting that environmental considerations applied during the rezoning process satisfy requirements at DA stage; while other councils build upon the rezoning with additions of new species offsets throughout the DA assessment period.
  • More certainty is needed and ecology should be just one consideration in a balanced assessment process.

UDIA is advocating for:

  • DPIE to issue a Practice Note and better educate councils in order to bring certainty to the process
  • Apply ESD balanced principles at the planner level instead of overt deferral to ecology

Offset Pricing

Pricing remains highly volatile and unpredictable due to:

  • Low supply of Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements
  • Shallow credit markets
  • Overdue update on the BCT calculator

UDIA is advocating for:

  • More certainty
  • Fix the tax disincentive of BSAs
  • Speed up BSA approvals

Cumulative Requirements

Federal, State and Local compound offset requirements.

  • Bilateral Agreement: In a bit of good news, NSW and the Federal Government have signed a bilateral agreement to streamline requirements between the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act and the Federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
  • Koala SEPP: UDIA does not believe a stand-alone Koala SEPP is necessary; koala conservation should be accommodated under the BAM. The Koala SEPP was rushed through and is having large impacts on sites in yield loss and increased costs.

UDIA is advocating for:

  • Address koala conservation within the BAM
  • Reconsideration of Koala SEPP requirements where conservation outcomes don’t support the additional cost on development.