Advocacy Highlights

UDIA Victoria has proven itself to be an influential advocate for the urban development industry both publicly and privately through consistent engagement with government, regulators, media, industry and the general public.

2020-21 Advocacy Wins

Kept industry operating during COVID-19

  • Consistently promoted industry’s ability to operate and remain COVID Safe, providing Government with confidence to keep industry open through almost every lockdown period.
  • Negotiated the easing of industry restrictions to keep more people working safely, including:
  • Expanded definitions to cover more development settings, allowing more people permitted on-site;
  • Established public and private civil construction sites as low-risk activities, enabling them to operate under reduced restrictions;
  • Broadened restrictions on specialist contractors permitted on-site; and
  • Exclusion of support workers from the on-site worker limit, enabling more people on-site at one time.
  • Continually updated Government-endorsed industry guidelines in line with changing circumstances to instill confidence in Government and keep work-sites, industry and our communities safe.
  • Successfully advocated for the establishment of HomeBuilder and the subsequent broadening of eligibility requirements in Victoria, including increasing property price caps to $850,000, and extending the construction commencement time limit and the time for buyers to have their name registered on the certificate of title.
  • Influenced Government to bring forward the re-opening of display homes, land sales offices, sales suites and open-for-inspections, ensuring a continued sales pipeline for industry.

Reduced taxes for investors and homebuyers

  • Released ground-breaking research revealing up to 34% of a Victorian homebuyer’s purchase price is driven by government taxes and charges, mounting pressure on Government to reduce property taxes.
  • Pitched the idea to halve Stamp Duty as a budget-neutral measure, which Government adopted when it included a 50 per cent Stamp Duty waiver for residential property transactions of up to $1 million in its 2020 State Budget.
  • Successfully advocated for Government to waive the Vacant Residential Land Tax for properties that are vacant in 2020 across Victoria.
  • Influenced measures to make the build-to-rent sector more viable in Victoria, including introduction of a 50% land tax discount and an exemption from the absentee owner surcharge on eligible developments.

Put the spotlight on infrastructure contributions

  • Secured the establishment of the Victorian Government’s Infrastructure Contributions Advisory Committee. UDIA is the principal industry body advising the Committee as it conducts a re-assessment of the operation of the ICP, DCP and GAIC models and pressure-tests reform measures.
  • Successfully advocated that the regional ICP rollout be paused and re-assessed when the Government’s Infrastructure Contributions Advisory Committee has delivered its review and recommendations on the broader ICP system.
  • Secured amendments to the Planning ICPs for Greenfield and Environment Act regarding development settings, which will see all developers within a specific PSP area make equitable contributions through the ICP. This is a more transparent and efficient approach to PSP planning, that streamlines the time taken to commence PSPs and will speed up land production.

Future-proofed our industry

Successfully demonstrated the need for serious housing sector stimulus, resulting in record investment in housing and planning in the 2020 Victoria State Budget, which featured:

  • $5.3 billion for investment in social and affordable housing;
  • $500 million fund to contribute to the purchase price of a home in exchange for equity interest to accelerate Victorians into home ownership;
  • $300 million to help draw more overseas investment, support local industries and create jobs here in Victoria;
  • 50 per cent stamp duty waiver for residential property transactions of up to $1 million for contracts entered between 25 November 2020 and 30 June 2021;
  • Extension to the $20,000 First Home Owners Grant for regional Victorians;
  • $52 million to implement the Commissioner for Better Regulation’s planning reforms and to increase housing supply through the VPA’s work program;
  • Targeted planning system reforms including structural system reform and a review of the Planning and Environment Act 1987;
  • Creation of a new fast-tracked development assessment model for major projects over $50 million, making the assessment process simpler and faster for these important projects; and
  • Critical ongoing upgrades to the state’s digital planning system platform, reducing the regulatory burden for applicants and approval authorities.

Progressed meaningful planning systems reform

  • Worked closely with the Commissioner for Better Regulation to secure unprecedented funding for planning system reform in the November State Budget – funding specifically targeted towards implementing recommendations of the Planning and Building Approvals Process Review Discussion Paper, where 70% of recommendations were guided by UDIA Victoria.
  • Cemented our position as the pre-eminent industry body advising on planning reform through establishment of a UDIA expert panel that provides regular, rapid advice to Government as it fine-tunes and implements a suite of planning reform measures.

Fast-tracked building, development and construction projects

  • Collaborated with Government to support industry with a pipeline of shovel ready projects, and secured the establishment of a 12-month Development Facilitation Program to speed up assessment and determination of identified priority projects.
  • Influenced Government to adopt our recommendation to delegate oversight of the Melbourne Industrial and Commercial Land Use Plan, to suitable strategic land use and economic experts equipped to minimise time delays, costs, uncertainty and unnecessary regulatory burden.
  • Secured the establishment of a VPA Fast Track Program to unlock a targeted 89,200 homes and 107,340 Victorian jobs.
  • Successfully advocated for funding for planning permit approvals, leading Government to commit $625 million of planning permit approvals for building and development projects across metropolitan, rural and regional Victoria.

Improved electricity connection standards

  • Successfully advocated for increased requirements for distribution businesses connecting power to greenfield developments, including legislation to ensure we see a reduction in time frames and costs.
  • Influenced a Design and Construction Standard to harmonise practices across all distribution businesses, which will come into force 1 July 2021.
  • Input into customer service standards for negotiated connections from each distribution business.
  • Collaborated with Powercor to change the way it manages plan audits, meaning designers no longer need to obtain public lighting approvals prior to submitting a staged plan for audit.

UDIA Victoria Roadmap to Recovery

Make Victoria the ‘Homebuyer State‘.

Secure Victoria’s economic future for generations to come.

Keep 300,000 Victorians employed.

2019-20 Advocacy Wins

Kept members in work through each phase of the COVID-19 shutdown period

  • Advocated for industry to be classed as an essential service so we could keep more people working.
  • Developed and continually evolved government-endorsed industry safety guidelines to keep worksites, industry and our communities safe.
  • Successfully advocated for the establishment of Government’s Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce to boost industry activity and save jobs, to which UDIA Victoria sits on the Steering Committee.  
  • Influenced the easing of industry-specific restrictions in line with changing circumstances.
  • Advocated for homebuying stimulus to support industry, bolstering the case for HomeBuilder and $20,000 First Homeowner Grant in regional Victoria, both announced.

Fast-tracked building, development and construction projects

  • Developed a fast-track pathway for shovel-ready projects, which informed Government’s Project Fast-Track initiative.
  • Influenced Government’s Building Works package, which adopts recommendations from the UDIA Victoria Action Plan to fast-track expenditure on building and construction projects.
  • Influenced a funding pipeline for social and affordable housing in Victoria.

Minimised project delays

  • Effectively advocated for councils to extend worksite hours for construction and development sites during the pandemic.
  • Secured funding for urgent VCAT upgrades to keep matters moving.
  • Worked with Government to keep councils producing a future pipeline of industry work.
  • Developed an Advisory Note for Registered Aboriginal Parties to keep work progressing without fieldwork if necessary through the pandemic.

Positively contributed to Victorian urban development policy

  • Influenced the Treasurer’s Office to include specific UDIA drafted sections into the State Taxation Acts Further Amendments Bill 2019, broadening the ways a landowner can satisfy the primary production requirement.
  • Guided 70% of the recommendations within the Planning and Building Approvals Process Review Discussion Paper.
  • Secured a further round of industry consultation regarding proposed Better Apartments policy, giving us greater opportunity to improve the policy changes.
  • Provided practical, ongoing industry advice to the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Planning Mechanisms for Affordable Housing.
  • Started ongoing conversation with the Minister for Water on capacity concerns of Regional Water Corporations to adequately respond to the extent of growth in designated areas.
  • Brought together servicing authorities, state and local governments and industry in Mitchell Shire to work towards improving the Precinct Structure Planning process.
  • Collaborated with the Department of Treasury and Finance and Essential Services Commission to monitor and evaluate the success and effectiveness of the ESC investigation into electricity connections.
  • Influenced the significant update of the ICP Guidelines through input on the ICP Steering and Technical Advisory Groups.
  • Worked with the VPA towards streamlining the administration of GAIC staged payments.
  • Influenced DELWP to prepare draft code assess pathways for several application types.
  • Reached an interim agreement enabling early construction at specific locations within the Victorian Desalination Plant easement accompanied by an interim risk management process.

2018-2019 Advocacy Highlights

  • Influenced the Treasurer’s Office to include specific UDIA drafted sections into the State Taxation Acts Further Amendments Bill 2019, broadening the ways a landowner can satisfy the primary production requirement.
  • Guided 70% of the recommendations within the Planning and Building Approvals Process Review Discussion Paper; a direct result of our tremendous advocacy work which included running several development site tours, workshops, briefings and tutorials exclusively for the Commissioner and her Better Regulation team in charge of the review.
  • Successfully advocated DELWP to include a further round of industry consultation regarding proposed Better Apartments policy, giving us greater opportunity to improve the policy changes.
  • Provided practical, ongoing industry advice to the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Planning Mechanisms for Affordable Housing, which continues to play a meaningful role in preparing advice for the Minister.
  • Started ongoing conversation with the Minister for Water on capacity concerns of Regional Water Corporations to adequately respond to the extent of growth in designated areas.
  • Brought together servicing authorities, state and local governments and industry in Mitchell Shire to work towards improving the Precinct Structure Planning process.
  • Collaborated with the Department of Treasury and Finance and Essential Services Commission to monitor and evaluate the success and effectiveness of the ESC investigation into electricity connections.
  • Represented industry in the Advisory Committee advising the Treasurer and Minister for Planning on the establishment of a Build to Rent system.
  • Increased understanding of commercial factors that influence affordable housing agreements through the UDIA Introduction to Property Development Economics for Affordable Housing course, which was attended by over 50 State and Local Government Officers.
  • Influenced the significant update of the ICP Guidelines through input on the ICP Steering and Technical Advisory Groups.
  • Worked with the VPA towards streamlining the administration of GAIC staged payments.
  • Influenced DELWP to prepare draft code assess pathways for several application types.
  • Reached an interim agreement enabling early construction at specific locations within the Victorian Desalination Plant easement accompanied by an interim risk management process.
  • Established the UDIA Urban Renewal and Built Form Committee to better address fiscal, planning and building policy and legislation regarding the delivery of new housing in urban renewal and infill developments.

2017-18 Advocacy Highlights

  • Launched the Residential Development Index (RDI), which called out the oversupply myth by alerting Government, media and the general public to big discrepancies in the housing demand and supply levels being forecast, planned for, and delivered. This has set the scene for improved population growth forecasting to establish a better fact base for decision-making around Government infrastructure investment and housing sector policy.
  • Led the charge for better governance, transparency and spending of the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) fund, driving Government to commit over 58% of funds collected in 2016/17 (as of Dec 2017, with the assurance of significantly more to come by July 2018) with a renewed focus on longer term, significant growth area infrastructure projects. 
  • Influenced State Government to address issues with GAIC Works-in-Kind (WIK) agreements, which subsequently saw the first GAIC WIK agreement announced in 2017 after years of policy development and industry engagement. VPA has now established a GAIC WIKs Working Group with UDIA Victoria as a key member to further address industry issues hindering the agreement process.  
  • Bolstered the case against parliamentary revocations of Planning Scheme Amendments with a widely distributed industry policy position and media release that were both read aloud and referred to repeatedly in Parliamentary debate.
  • Strategically steered Government’s Smart Planning program as a key member of the Smart Planning Advisory Group, influencing meaningful progress in reforming the Victorian Planning Provisions that has positively impacted over half of all permit applications.
  • Provided regular, direct and open advice to the TreasurerPlanning MinisterMinister for Suburban DevelopmentVictorian Planning Authority and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on the supply and demand factors driving Victoria’s housing market.
  • Loudly advocated for planning certainty in Fishermans Bend through several private and public communications including a prominent opinion piece published in The Age. 
  • Successfully advocated for the removal two of the three prescribed mandatory notification stages for construction or alteration of building that were proposed in the regulatory impact statement (RIS) for the Building Regulations Sunset Review.
  • Highlighted major inefficiencies in the post-PSP process through a comprehensive submission and collection of case studies. As a result, State Government is now undertaking several initiatives to address the issues presented by the UDIA Victoria submission.
  • Provided solid input as a key member of Government’s Streamlining for Growth Working Group, which continues to drive several initiatives focused on speeding up the delivery of greenfield projects.
  • Made the case to increase the powers and influence of the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA), leading the Minister for Planning to issue a new direction that gives VPA’s policy positions and views greater authority at VCAT and Panels in relation to Amendments the VPA has been directed to provide advice about.
  • Worked closely with policy-makers on the development of the new Infrastructure Contribution Plan system for regional Victoria, following on from the system’s implementation in the growth areas. 
  • Effectively made the case for the allowance of some site-based information to supplement mapped information in the new Native Vegetation rules, which now offer the opportunity to demonstrate through ground-truthing that certain species do not exist in an area, therefore eliminating the offsetting requirement.

UDIA Victoria Advocacy Team

Matthew Kandelaars
Chief Executive Officer
matthew@udiavic.com.au

Caroline Speed
Director of Policy and Research  
caroline@udiavic.com.au