- Western Australia Update
New State Government
After the historic landslide state election win by the Labor Party, it remains to be seen what the priorities of the new Government will be to ensure the continued growth of the State.
As promised during the election campaign they have immediately ceased further work on the controversial Roe 8 Project, the first stage of the proposed $1.9 billion Perth Freight Link.
The Property Council has called for the new McGowan Government to focus on much-needed advances for the state including:
- Developing additional transport infrastructure, including the proposed Labor Metronet, as the catalyst for improving housing density around urban centres
- modernisation of industry regulations, including strata title reform, and building licencing
- ensuring the delivery of planning consistency including engaging with local governments
- undertake a review of state taxes on the property industry to achieve a more equitable tax system and attract more investment into Western Australia.
Perth office vacancy edges high
The Perth CBD office vacancy rate continues to rise off the back of declining demand and additional new office space coming on line. The Property Council’s latest Office Market Report found the vacancy rate rose from 21.8% to 22.5% to the six months ended January 2017, well above the national average vacancy rate of 10.5%.
With limited committed new construction in the pipeline and an increase in tenants moving into the city from suburban areas most property analysts believe the vacancy rate will stabilise over the remainder of this year. The slowing pipeline for new commercial developments has many owners looking at repositioning and redeveloping their buildings.
Development Assessment Panel Changes: Increased transparency
The previously flagged amendments to the current Development Assessment Panel (“DAP”) system have now been implemented, effective 1 February 2017.
The amendments, based on recent feedback from key stakeholders, include;
- an option to opt-out of a DAP in favour of a local government for developments, such as industrial warehouses, that will not significantly impact local amenity.
- DAP agendas required to be published at least seven days before a meeting - instead of the current five days - to provide greater advance notice to the public.
- Local governments will be required to proactively contact each person who has provided a written submission in relation to a DAP application.
- Responsible authority reports to include more information about why decisions can be made, to ensure that the decision-making process is clearly communicated and can be better understood.
- DAP presiding members will be able to intervene in the 'stop-the-clock' process if parties disagree about the level of information that has been provided for an application.
- Provide proponents with the option to choose between a local government or a DAP when requesting an amendment to a minor aspect of an existing development approval.
- Changes to the DAP fee structure.
Whilst the amendments are mainly administrative in nature, they ensure the DAP system increases its transparency and flexibility.