Weekly wrap: Urban Connections mag, UDIA leadership changes, HomeBuilder expansion & more

4 Dec 2020

, News

Urban Connections.

We are delighted to bring you the UDIA Urban Connections digital magazine – a collection of member contributions exploring ideas and topics most relevant to our industry right now.

This special magazine is designed to give you a glimpse into how different people across our industry have navigated through 2020; to take a moment to reflect and celebrate the resilience you have shown; and to open the door for you to reach out and connect with others as we move into this next stage of ‘COVID Normal’

Access the Urban Connections magazine now!

UDIA Victoria leadership changes. 

Against the unique backdrop of this year, Danni Hunter has made the difficult decision to finish her time at UDIA Victoria after six years as Chief Executive. 

Danni commenced with UDIA Victoria at the beginning of 2015 and has led the organisation through a period of significant change and modernisation.  She has played an important leadership role in the urban development industry and in advancing our relationships and partnerships with government at all levels.

Here’s a short note from Danni about her decision….

It has been a privilege to lead UDIA Victoria and to represent the urban development industry in my role as CEO. I’m extremely passionate about this industry, its people and the incredible places and spaces it creates.  With issues like housing affordability, the liveability of our cities and regions and important planning system-reform at the top of the agenda, my role at UDIA Victoria has been extremely rewarding.

I am so extremely grateful for the opportunities and learnings I have gained at UDIA Victoria and will always remember my time with the organisation as a period full of incredible people, amazing achievements and a phenomenally important industry.  Thank you for every opportunity you have given me, and I look forward to continuing to work with the industry in the future.

Click here to read a message to our members from UDIA Victoria President, Ashley Williams.

HomeBuilder expansion.

The Commonwealth Government has extended and partially redesigned the HomeBuilder initiative, which will help continue to sustain new housing construction, jobs, wages and access to home ownership as Australia recovers from the economic effects of COVID-19.

Key points for Victoria.

  • The HomeBuilder grant, due to finish at the end of the year, will be extended until March 31.
  • Contracts signed between January and March next year will attract a lower rate of $15,000.
  • Property price caps in Victoria will be lifted for contracts signed between January and March next year, rising to $850,000 in Victoria.
  • The amount of time all approved applicants who signed contracts on or after June 4, 2020, are given to start construction will be extended, from three months to six months.

Read more.

Research and data-driven forecasts on the health of our industry.

Next week we will be revealing and analysing the results of our flagship research project – the UDIA Residential Development Index (RDI).

In this year’s special edition of the RDI, we not only provide an update on the health of the market in the 2019-20 financial year, but we draw on data and research to provide forecasts on market conditions  impacting the health of Victoria’s residential development sector in 2020-21.

The RDI explores two practical scenarios; one where international migration movement commences in late 2021; and one where immigration is delayed until late 2022. We look at what each scenario means for dwelling demand, employment and the economic output of our sector – the fundamental drivers that will determine how Victoria’s residential development industry recovers in the wake of COVID-19.

Do not miss out. 

Wednesday, 9 December 
2:00PM – 3:30PM
Live Virtual Event (Delivered via Zoom)

Register now.

UDIA Victoria preliminary submission: Aboriginal Heritage Act Review.

UDIA Victoria has embraced the opportunity to respond to the Discussion Paper on Legislative Reform of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and has committed to participating productively in the consultation process on behalf of the urban development industry.

In our preliminary submission, UDIA Victoria has supported appropriate legislative changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (the Act). However, we have submitted that such legislative change must be consistent with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) (the Charter) and must adopt measures of governance incorporating necessary checks and balances to ensure good, transparent, timely and accountable decision making.

Read our submission.

New planning rules to support Victoria’s Big Housing Build.

Amendments VC187 and VC190 were gazetted on 1 December 2020, introducing changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes to streamline the planning process and support economic recovery through the creation of thousands of jobs, and the rapid delivery of much needed social and affordable housing.

Amendment VC187: Introduces a new particular provision, Housing by or on behalf of the Director of Housing at clause 53.20 to streamline the planning permit process for housing projects by or on behalf of the Director of Housing.

The Minister for Energy, Environment, and Climate Change is the responsible authority for assessing the development of 10 or more dwellings and apartments. Proposals for less than 10 dwellings will be assessed by the local council.

Amendment VC190: Introduces a new particular provision for projects delivered through Victoria’s Big Housing Build at clause 52.20. The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change is the responsible  authority for assessing all proposals made under this new provision.

The prompt implementation of the provisions will support the creation of thousands of jobs and boost Victoria’s economic recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Read more.

Advocacy win: Timely energy connections.  

The Energy Legislation Amendment (Licence Conditions) Bill 2020 has passed through Parliament, enabling the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change to set conditions that energy companies must meet, including timeliness for connection.

The Bill addresses lengthy delays in connecting new housing developments to the power grid, impacting ted housing construction timeframes and costs. The legislation being introduced will help address this issue, supporting the state’s housing and construction sector as it rebuilds from the impacts of the pandemic. 

Read the Bill.

Stronger planning controls for Melbourne’s green wedges and agricultural land.

The Victorian Government is seeking community feedback on stronger planning controls to permanently protect Melbourne’s green wedges and agricultural land.

The proposed planning changes are aimed at protecting green wedges from overdevelopment while keeping farms on our urban fringes working.

Melbourne’s twelve green wedges cover the areas just outside Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary and provide an essential break between the intensive urban development along the city’s growth corridors.

These zones, which are protected by legislation, include significant conservation and cultural heritage sites, tourism and recreational opportunities such as our renowned food and wine regions, natural resources and critical infrastructure that supports the operation of the city.

The Government is also proposing to permanently protect peri-urban agricultural land that lies beyond Melbourne’s green wedge zones but still within 100 kilometres of the CBD. These are predominantly rural areas with small townships.

Read more.

New Victorian Government departments.

As we move into the recovery phase of the pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services will be separated into two new departments to allow for a dedicated focus on our health system and on the social recovery of our state.

The new Department of Health (DoH) and the new Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) will commence operation from 1 February 2021 and the Government will work closely with workers and their unions over the next two months to manage the transition.

The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing will include the current DHHS portfolios of Child Protection, Prevention of Family Violence, Housing and Disability – ensuring the delivery of the significant investments from the recent Budget in Victoria’s recovery – with Richard Wynne taking on the role of Coordinating Minister.

The Department of Health will be responsible for the Health, Ambulance Services, Mental Health and Ageing portfolios and, importantly, continue leading the Government’s public health response to the pandemic with Martin Foley as the Coordinating Minister.

Read more about these new government departments.

A dedicated agency, COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV), has also been established to oversee all elements of the Hotel Quarantine program.

Read more about CQV.

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