UDIA report warns housing supply and affordability is at crisis point in Illawarra Shoalhaven

In launching its Building Blocks Illawarra Shoalhaven 2021 report today, UDIA NSW warned that the Illawarra Shoalhaven is at a crisis point as we face a rapidly decreasing supply of serviced land for development.

While lots have been released in West Lake Illawarra and apartment development in the Wollongong CBD and Kiama township, the pace of development is not keeping up with demand, leading to a critical shortage of greenfield housing extending throughout the region.  This demand will only be exacerbated by the rate of In-migration as people look for regional housing solutions out of Sydney as shown in the UDIA/URBIS Home Purchaser Sentiment Survey where 33% of Sydney respondents indicated an interest in moving outward whether to outer suburbs or to the regions.

“House prices are continuing to climb at an alarming rate, which is having a major impact on deteriorating housing affordability.“ said Steve Mann, CEO, UDIA NSW.

“Over the past 12 months, we have seen house prices rise by more than 20% in Shoalhaven and 12% in Wollongong.  Kiama now has an average house price of $1million.” he added.

However, the report shows how this crisis can be averted through the funding of critical enabling infrastructure needed to further support up to 500,000 people that will live in the region by 2041.  UDIA requests the NSW Government commits $136.6 million for the six recommended water and sewer projects that will unblock 11,600 lots by 2024 in the West Lake Illawarra and Nowra-Bomaderry Urban Release Areas.

UDIA NSW Building Blocks Illawarra Shoalhaven 2021 was officially launched on UDIA TV by Steve Mann, CEO, UDIA NSW together with Christine Miller, Business Leader – South Coast from Cardno who outlined the key infrastructure challenges and the practical and realistic infrastructure solutions to help sustain greenfield housing supply in the region.

Gordon Clark, Strategic Planning Manager from Shoalhaven City Council spoke on the challenges of delivering local infrastructure using State government funds.

UDIA will continue to advocate for increased infrastructure spending in the Illawarra Shoalhaven to support greenfield growth and address housing affordability issues.

ENDS

Media Enquiries:
Deanna Lane 0416 295 898 or dlane@udiansw.com.au.
—-

UDIA NSW Regrets Uncertainty Caused By Delays on Infrastructure Contributions Reform

The release today of the report of Portfolio Committee No 7 of the Legislative Council. – Planning and Environment, entitled ‘Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill 2021’ recommends that “the Bill should not proceed, until the draft regulations have been developed and released for consultation and the reviews into the rate pegging system, benchmarking and the essential works list have been published by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.”

The recommendations of the NSW Productivity Commissioner into infrastructure contributions were broadly welcomed by the UDIA and if implemented successfully had the potential to make a major contribution to fixing the NSW housing and affordability crisis, support economic growth and create jobs.

The recommendations are a package of reforms including to local infrastructure contributions, regional infrastructure contributions and land value contributions. If implemented as a whole, they had the potential to speed up the delivery of key enabling infrastructure and housing supply. The final report can be found here.

“At a time when the construction industry is on its knees due to the COVID restrictions, confidence and investment are falling, the last thing the industry needs is more uncertainty from the Legislative Council on reforms to Infrastructure Contributions. This will exacerbate the housing supply and affordability crisis across the state, hold back the economic recovery from COVID and undermine jobs”, said Steve Mann, CEO, UDIA NSW.

UDIA urges the Legislative Council to get on with passing the legislation as it is, reducing industry uncertainty.

The full report from Portfolio Committee No 7 of the Legislative Council can be found here.

ENDS

Media Enquiries:
Deanna Lane 0416 295 898 or dlane@udiansw.com.au.
—-

50% a positive next step for construction industry re-opening says UDIA NSW

UDIA NSW welcomed today’s announcement by NSW Government of its decision to allow all sites in NSW to re-open construction, representing another positive reopening step.

Due to the continued increase in COVID numbers in the current outbreak of the Delta strain the NSW Government has moved to announce the implementation of the successful Victorian model recommended by UDIA NSW on the first day after the shutdown was announced. All sites in NSW (including the 8 Hot Spot LGAs) will be allowed to open from Wednesday 11 August at 50% of workforce capacity.

“This approach is considered more durable, given the likelihood of LGAs coming in and out of Hot Spot/Locked Down restrictions and the economic imperative that the development and construction industries stay open. The construction industry directly or indirectly impacts one in four jobs in NSW and this decision is crucial for our economy” said Steve Mann UDIA NSW CEO.

These changes will take effect at 12.01am on Wednesday 11 August after the Public Health Orders are signed next week.

Key points from today’s announcement include:

  • All sites (unoccupied) will be allowed to open and operate at 50% of daily workforce capacity . Builders will need to have evidence of that onsite.
  • No testing requirements except for workers in the Hot Spot/Locked Down LGAs (currently 8 in Western Sydney) where Construction Workers will need to have at least one vaccine dose 21 days old or one dose and COVID testing every 3 days with negative COVID-19 test no older than 72 hours, then they can travel to any sites. (NSW is currently trialling rapid antigen testing and when approved by NSW Health, that form of testing may be used.)
  • This means that some sites may have to reduce workers on-site to comply.
  • The Public Health Order only allows the workers to leave for the purposes of work. That means when they are not working, all stay at home restrictions still apply.
  • Workers outside the affected LGAs may travel into the LGAs for work and are not subject to vaccination requirements.
  • Sites are still required to have a COVID-19 safety plan in place.
  • Construction workers will be prioritised for vaccination with Astra Zeneca at a dedicated Super Sunday Vaccine Clinic to be hosted at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday 15 August.

This is seen by all of the industry as a positive step and one which also brings great responsibility for the industry to continue to operate in a COVID safe way, taking every measure to avoid any infections on sites and protect our workers and the wider community.

”UDIA NSW is encouraging the government to develop further Stay-Open plans in order to build confidence in the industry that government will continue to work with us to keep the development and construction industry open.” added Mr Mann.

ENDS

Media Enquiries:
Deanna Lane 0416 295 898 or dlane@udiansw.com.au.
—-

Tradies worst hit in lockdown say major developers

In a UDIA NSW survey of its members, one third of housing construction sites are still closed due to current restrictions.  A quarter of developers surveyed expect to make large cuts to their workforce if restrictions remain past August.  For some developers 100% of their workforce live in the 8 lockdown LGAs and are therefore unable to work.

Developers across Greater Sydney say that on sites that are open, they are operating on average at half capacity.  Over half of developers surveyed already have a vaccination promotion policy in place.

Exacerbating the risk of significant job losses is that major developers expressed concerned about the financial support available from either the NSW or Federal Government and were unclear how to access it, with almost half stating that government support will not help their businesses, 35% were unsure and only 22% think that government support will help.

“There is a great sense of urgency to address this issue, particularly for those builders who are facing a significant cash flow impact, contracts are subject to increasing complications as they head toward sunset dates and delay costs are increasing at two to three times, due to lags in reaching delivery milestones.” said Steve Mann, CEO UDIA NSW.

“UDIA urges the NSW Government to take immediate action on the following three recommendations:

  • Extend the essential workers list to include critical construction jobs that can be done in a COVIDsafe way;
  • At the end of the August lockdown period, those who are double vaccinated, should be able to leave locked down LGAs and work.
  • NSW Government to do more to communicate the financial support that is available to the industry, to minimise job losses through uncertainty.

Our industry is essential to the economy and every day that we are unable to generate revenue and employ thousands of workers, will further cause a drain on the state and damage local communities.” added Mr Mann.

ENDS

Media Enquiries:
Deanna Lane 0416 295 898 or dlane@udiansw.com.au.
—-