Home Property Australia Chief Executive | As easy as the Australian Building Code

Chief Executive | As easy as the Australian Building Code

  • October 11, 2023
  • by Mike Zorbas
The WA government has announced a new stamp duty concession for buyers of apartments under construction that will deliver much needed housing supply

In your bones you know why a single national building code makes sense.

Small country. Small population. Three tiers of government. Eight different ways to plan cities. Pleasingly, every now and then, one building code.

“Developing and maintaining minimum, proportionate and cost effective technical requirements that provide for the health and safety, amenity and accessibility, and sustainability of buildings.”

The Code mandate is immense. The potential for unintended consequences and costs profound. Regulatory Impact Statements are very hard to do well.

And yet on Friday, at the Building Industry Dialogue in Melbourne, the nation’s building Ministers got back into the much-needed groove of talking to industry. Including just how hard it is to make projects stack at the scale needed to meet our housing needs right now.

I talked about workforce, innovation and investment. There was much other good content from my peers, including energy efficiency, signposting changes by the decade, calling up relevant standards, and keeping a strong focus on customer and market drivers.

For our part we emphasised the need for a large enough workforce to satisfy the nation’s needs on the housing (mainly private sector) front, the government infrastructure front (in certain areas an inflated competitor for labour that might otherwise build homes) and the energy transition front (only just opening up but sure to draw labour from the general market).

We highlighted the innovative work the industry is doing, and we discussed the need to consider the damage by quarterly changes to national and state tax rules that serve as a disincentive to the international investment we need to attract to improve our cities.

Important updates to come.

Paean of praise for Premier

Sugar hits are just that. The Property Council only back demand side stimuli when they improve the market.

Take Homebuilder (yes it should have included apartments), it rescued jobs and it rescued national consumer confidence, easily forgotten in the inflation and supply chain hangover of the post pandemic world.

Good then to see some balancing of the playing field for apartments in Western Australia.

To quote Sandra Brewer, our WA Executive Director, from Tuesday:

“This morning I joined Premier Roger Cook MLA, Deputy Premier and Treasurer Rita Saffioti MLA and Planning and Housing Minister John Carey MLA at Blackburne’s East Village Karrinyup project for the announcement of the extension of the stamp duty concession for apartments under construction.

Given our urgent need for more housing supply, it is the right decision and will reduce the costs to buyers of apartments.

Historically, apartment buyers have faced higher stamp duty costs than those opting for house and land packages.

This announcement helps address the discrepancy and will support high-quality infill development, improving housing affordability, diversity and choice.”

Well said. Well done.