Urban Insights: Your wrap-up of the latest industry news

26 Feb 2021

, News

In this e-newsletter
– Set the scene  
– UDIA Victoria and Bus Association VIC research project 
– Advocacy update: A strong case to keep civil construction exempt from lockdowns 
– VPA Business Plan 2020/21 
– Big Housing Build begins  
– Current stakeholder consultations and engagements 
– COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry 
– In the media 

Set the Scene.

  • Yesterday, Thursday 25 February, Victoria recorded its sixth consecutive day with no COVID-19 community transmission. It is expected that Premier Andrews will announce a return to pre-Christmas restrictions later today (re: masks indoors and social gathering limits). 
  • The COVID-19 vaccine program roll-out commenced in Victoria on Monday. A roll-out chart provided by DHHS indicates most of the broader Victorian population is expected to be vaccinated by September 2021.  
  • In good news, the latest ABS data shows Victoria’s unemployment rate has dropped 0.2 percentage points to 6.3 per cent, below the national average of 6.4 per cent, and Victoria’s participation rate surged to 66.7 per cent – just below the all-time record of 66.8 per cent before the impact of coronavirus.

UDIA Victoria and Bus Association Victoria Research Project.  

UDIA Victoria has commenced a collaborative research project with the Bus Association of Victoria to put a spotlight on the increasingly frequent practice of developers having to run private bus services to service new communities. This situation arises due to the often multi-year lag between residents moving into a new community, and the commencement of state-funded public route bus services in and around these new neighbourhoods.   

In the absence of public bus services,  many developers have commenced delivery of their own bus services to run at particular times to take residents from their homes to rail stations or nearby major community activity centres, mainly in peak hours.   

This research project seeks to quantify how widespread the incidence of developer-led bus service provision is across Melbourne and the regions, the pros and cons of developers commissioning these services, and the average lag time between new communities opening and new public bus routes commencing.  

We will soon be seeking member input to this important research via a survey and workshops. If you are interested in participating, please email policy@udivic.com.au

Advocacy Update: A Strong Case to Keep All Civil Construction Exempt From Future Lockdowns. 

Following the recent snap 5-day circuit breaker lockdown imposed by the State Government, UDIA Victoria and the Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) made a joint submission to the State Government to exclude all civil construction of roads, rail, airport, bridges, and utilities, i.e. telecommunications, power, water, and sewerage, from any potential future COVID-19 shutdowns. 

Civil contractors are facilitating the delivery of complimentary policy interests critical to the state of Victoria, including HomeBuilder, Big Housing Build, safe to work from home, economic activity stimulus and investment outcomes. 

This was duly acknowledged in previous COVID-19 restrictions as “Early Stage” Development but lacked clear direction in the 5-day circuit breaker action causing confusion and dysfunction among water and other utility authorities, local government, and civil contractors. 

VPA Business Plan 2020/21. 

The Minister for Planning has approved the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) Business Plan 2020/21, which was delayed due to COVID-19. 

The Business Plan includes: 

  • Eight new PSPs in Melbourne’s greenfield growth corridors;  
  • A new Partnered Delivery Pilot Program;
  • Finalisation and delivery of the new PSP Guidelines, and continued work to streamline processes using the PSP 2.0 methodology
  • 43 new Streamlining for Growth projects; 
  • Fast Track projects in Ballarat, Wonthaggi and Bannockburn; 
  • Supporting the rollout of ICPs to suitable regional settings;  
  • A pipeline of projects to help meet looming land supply shortages in some regional cities and peri-urban towns; and 
  • Supporting redevelopment at Arden, PMP Printing Strategic Site and Preston Market.

See the full VPA Business Plan 2020/21.

Big Housing Build Begins.  

Planning or pre-construction work has commenced on six fast-start sites as part of the Victorian Government’s Big Housing Build fast-start projects initiative. 

On top of these projects, Homes Victoria is progressing its Purchase Program for in-progress and ready-to-build developments, which seeks to purchase dwellings to be delivered as new social housing dwellings. Homes Victoria has advised their team is working through the submissions lodged in December 2020 and are at the stage of issuing requests for information. We continue to seek progress updates for industry. 

Read more about the six fast-start projects that have commenced.

Current Stakeholder Consultations and Engagements.  

The Victorian Government and various authorities are now refocusing on many of the policy issues put on pause in 2020 during the peak of the pandemic, with several stakeholder consultation periods currently underway which UDIA Victoria is involved with, including:  

Click here to view UDIA Victoria’s policy positions and submissions.

Please note confidential submissions and communications will not be published. 

COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry. 

Version 10 of the COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry were released on 16 February 2021. 

The Guidelines have been developed by UDIA Victoria with a united group of industry associations and unions, and informed by relevant Government authorities including WorkSafe and DHHS.  

For our industry to stay safe and operational, all members of the sector must observe the current Guidelines on all building, construction and development sites. 

Download the latest COVID-19 Industry Guidelines.

Download the explanatory note outlining what’s changed.

In the Media. 

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