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

16 Apr 2021

, News

In this e-newsletter
– Set the Scene
– COVID-19 Industry Update
– ICP Revised Ministerial Direction: Free Industry Briefing
– Government Policies and Announcements

Set the Scene.

  • According to the latest ABS data, Victoria’s unemployment rate was at 6.1 per cent in March, a 0.4pt increase on February’s figures, but still a notable decline from the state’s 7.5 per cent unemployment peak in June 2020. The latest data was collected during the first half of March, prior to the end of JobKeeper.
  • Victoria’s economy is forecast to experience the strongest economic rebound of all the states and territories next financial year, with GSP expected to increase by 6.3 per cent in 2021-22, well above the forecast increase in Australia’s GDP of 4.1 per cent. 
  • Weak conditions in Melbourne’s rental market remain evident. In the March quarter, unit rents fell to 2015 prices, and for the first time on record Melbourne is now the second most affordable capital city to rent a house.
  • Victorian consumer sentiment is the strongest among the states and the highest it has been in a decade.
  • Victoria has paused its rollout of the Astra Zeneca vaccine and is redirecting the doses to GPs so that adults over 50 can get the jab, where it is considered the benefits significantly outweigh the risks. The Pfizer vaccine is now the preferred dose for persons under 50 years. This change to the vaccine program will cause delays in the scheduled rollout.

COVID Industry Update.

  • Clarity on Density Quotient: 1 person per 2 sqm still applies to crib sheds, meeting rooms. Following the easing of COVIDSafe settings from 9 April; one of which was the removal of the density quotient of 1 person per 2 sqm for office-based workplaces; there has been uncertainty around whether this relaxation applies to crib sheds and other meeting rooms on building and construction sites. The answer is NO! The latest Workplace Directions still require ‘shared spaces and publicly accessible areas at the work premises to comply with the density quotient of 1 person per 2 sqm’.
  • Subcontractor COVIDSafe Plans.
    In a significant change to the implementation of COVIDSafe plans, subcontractors are now able to sign on to the Principal Contractor’s COVIDSafe plan where the Principal Contractor has control of the site. For sites where the principal contractor does not have control of the site, the subcontractor must have their own COVIDSafe Plan for the worksite that they are on, even if that worksite is shared with another employer. Subcontractors must still have a COVIDSafe Plan for their own worksite such as a head office, workshop and vehicles which are predominantly used as a work premises.
  • WorkSafe COVID-19 Visits.WorkSafe Inspectors have been very active visiting building and construction sites during February and March.

    The following 5 major reasons have been identified for the issuing of improvement notices during this period:
    1. No COVIDSafe Plan (or an inadequate COVIDSafe Plan);
    2. Not wearing appropriate face coverings/masks/PPE (or inadequately wearing them);
    3. Employer failure to provide adequate cleaning;
    4. Failure to provide information, instruction and training for employees in relation to the risks associated with COVID-19 at the workplace; and
    5. Not complying with applicable density quotient for workplace. 

​For advice, guidance and templates on how you can keep your building and construction site as safe as possible, please access Version 11 of the COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry (released 4 March) here.

ICP Revised Ministerial Direction: Free Industry Update.

On 24 February 2021, the Minister for Planning issued a new Ministerial Direction on the Preparation and Content of ICPs.

The Ministerial Direction specifies where ICPs can be used (development settings) and the requirements for preparing an ICP including standard levy rates, land valuation and indexation methods, and the infrastructure that can be funded by an ICP.

Please join us on April 29 for a free industry briefing presented by the VPA, to help our members understand the changes to the revised ICP Ministerial Direction. 

ICP Ministerial Direction Industry Briefing Details 
Thursday, 29 April, 2:00PM via Zoom
Please add this to your calendar and follow the link at the time of the briefing: 

Questions to add? To raise a particular topic or question to be included on the agenda, please email Tyler Agius, Senior Infrastructure Planner at tyler.agius@vpa.vic.gov.au.

Government Policies and Announcements.

  • Building System Review.
    An expert panel chaired by the Commissioner for Better Regulation is undertaking a comprehensive review of Victoria’s building system. Read more.
  • Supporting Victorian Councils to Promote Growth.
    State Government has announced $2.7 million in grants for 21 councils under the Streamlining for Growth program. This will help local councils unblock or fast-track planning projects and speed up the delivery of residential land. Read more.

To subscribe to UDIA Victoria’s Urban Insights e-newsletter and other important industry policy and advocacy updates, please scroll down to the bottom of this page and enter your details.