Weekly wrap: Clarity on HomeBuilder, and an update from our CEO.

3 Jul 2020

, News

HomeBuilder update.

UDIA can confirm that HomeBuilder is intended to apply to sales contracts between buyers and developers (as opposed to its initial construct of contracts between a buyer and registered builder for a dwelling), as is commonly the case for off-the-plan apartment and townhouse projects.

A guidance note issued on 18 June (available here) includes a number of clarifications and also included reference to sales contracts.

The Commonwealth has also released a copy of the National Partnership Agreement with the states. NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Western Australia are signatories to the agreement, with Queensland and the ACT expected to follow in coming days.

A copy of the Agreement is available here.

CEO Update.

I’m pleased to provide you with an update on several key policy initiatives underway. Thank you to all of you who are contributing to our efforts; we are covering a lot of ground and there is a lot of working being done across all of our Committees and the Board in particular.

Firstly, we have received advice from Premier Andrews’ office on the postcode lockdowns. Building, construction and development sites can keep operating in these locations, and workers from outside those locations, can enter to attend their place of work on a building, construction or development site.

Secondly, we have a very informative virtual event next week with Julian Lyncolgn, Deputy Secretary – Planning at DELWP, and Stuart Mosely, CEO of the Victorian Planning Authority. This will be an important update and I hope many of you can join us at 2pm on Tuesday to hear from Julian and Stuart. Click here for details and bookings.

And finally, here is an overview of our most recent policy and advocacy work:

1. Government’s continued commitment to the construction sector.​

In his Statement of Continued Commitment to the Construction Sector, the Victorian Treasurer has reaffirmed the importance of the building, construction and development sector to the Victorian economy and thanked industry for keeping many Victorian workers safe and for staying open through the pandemic.

UDIA Victoria continues to work proactively and productively with the Treasurer and the Victorian Government on behalf of our members, and we welcome his commitment to continuing the collaborative approach that has guided us all well during the crisis period.

2.      UDIA Victoria calls for Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce to be extended, and a Standing Advisory Committee to be established.

We have written to Treasurer Pallas and Minister Wynne to articulate our support for the work of the Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce and urging them to consider extending the Taskforce with a mandate focussed on implementation and supporting industry through the recovery period.

We have also urged them to consider establishing a Standing Advisory Committee comprised of industry members to provide advice and feedback from the sector to inform policy responses and decisions.

3.      UDIA Victoria calls for overhaul of the Vacant Residential Land Tax

We have developed a strong case for Government to consider overhauling the Vacant Residential Land Tax.  The impacts of COVID-19 on the rental market and on developers is likely going to increase the vacancy levels of new residential dwellings, and the VRLT will act as a disincentive to development activity. We have therefore called for the VRLT to be scrapped in order to remove this burden on new residential dwellings.

4.     Affordable Housing Strategies – Kingston and Monash City Councils

We have made submissions to both the Kingston and Monash City Council proposing an alternative approach to increasing affordable housing stock, and urging them to delay progressing their draft Affordable Housing strategies until at least 1 July 2021.

5.     Draft Pako Street and Gordon Avenue Urban Design Framework

UDIA Victoria has made a submission to Geelong City Council’s draft Urban Design Framework for Pako Street and Gordon Avenue. Thank you to our Geelong Chapter Committee for preparing this submission with their intimate knowledge of the Geelong region.

Notable submissions that are currently underway for finalisation in July and August include:

  • Strategic Development Areas Infrastructure Contribution Plan System
  • Preliminary feedback to the Commissioner for Better Regulation’s review of the Building System
  • Essential Services Commission Utility Connections – new discussion paper released here
  • Arden Structure Plan – available here

On behalf of the UDIA Victoria team and our Board of Directors, we thank you for your ongoing engagement. We can all be incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved in FY20, particularly in the last few months. If you’re interested in the future of the urban development industry, make sure your organisation is standing with us as a UDIA Victoria member in FY21 and please renew your UDIA Victoria membership or join with us today. Un-renewed memberships are now overdue.

In an age of uncertainty, one thing we know is that we’re truly stronger together.

Danni Hunter
CEO UDIA Victoria

Advocacy in action.

UDIA Victoria warns new home approval figures justify urgent action.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on Wednesday show a 760 unit (14.3%) plunge in building approvals across May.

UDIA Victoria is taking these figures as a loud alarm bell, calling for urgent action from the Victorian Government to bring real stimulus to the market, especially in the apartment and townhouse development sector.

Click here to read our call-to-action in the media.