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Rolling information for industry. Updated regularly.

The impact of COVID-19 on Victoria’s urban development sector is a key concern for the UDIA and our members.

Maintaining your business operations right now is challenging and the UDIA has built a library of resources to help you with these challenges. Our staff continue to be available to help members navigate the questions you have and we are developing new ways to engage with members and to keep delivering services and support.

UDIA Victoria is working hard on behalf of our members and the wider development industry to ensure it remains an essential and important part of the economic recovery both during and after COVID-19. As part of this we are keeping in regular contact with our members through pulse surveys and using this to guide our advocacy efforts now and into the future.


  • Quick links
 
  • COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry: Click here
     
  • Letter for essential workers travelling across restricted areas: Members only – email admin@udiavic.com.au 
     
  • Statement from the Premier including summary of changes to restrictions: Click here
     
  • Pandemic Management Toolkit for Industry: Click here
     
  • HomeBuilder Fact Sheet: Click here
     
  • Department of Health and Human Services, Coronavirus website: Click here
 

FRIDAY JULY 10 2020
 
more public transport services 
 

The Victorian Government is adding hundreds of new train and tram services to the state’s busiest lines every week to give passengers more choice on when they travel and help maintain physical distancing across the network.

From Monday 13 July, 95 extra train services on either side of the morning and afternoon peaks will be added to the metropolitan network each week, making it easier to stagger travel times and physically distance on services.

The Sunbury, Craigieburn, Werribee, Mernda, Dandenong, Ringwood and Glen Waverley lines will each get an extra 10 services per week and the Hurstbridge line will see five new services each week.

The Frankston and Sandringham lines will also get an extra 10 services per week from Monday 27 July, once level crossing removal works on the Frankston line are complete.

On the tram network, two new shuttle routes will run along Collins St – one during weekday peak periods along St George’s Road, Brunswick Street and Collins Street using large E Class trams, and the second for up to 19 hours each day between Victoria Harbour and St Vincent’s Plaza via Collins St.

To reduce congestion on Collins Street, Route 30 will be replaced with the Route 12 which will be diverted to La Trobe Street, providing alternative travel options within the CBD and additional capacity on La Trobe Street.


friday JULY 10 2020
 
extra government support for vic businesses 
 

The Victorian Government has announced a $534 million Business Support Package.

The latest measures include cash grants for struggling businesses, mental health support for business owners and tailored advice for businesses to adapt, stay afloat and then bounce back on the other side.

Businesses will benefit from an extended and expanded payroll tax deferral. Eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year.

The Government will expand the Business Support Fund (previouslt available to the 12 postcodes linked to outbreaks) and provide more than 80,000 eligible businesses with a new $5,000 grant to support them through the renewed restrictions.

A $26 million investment in mental health support will ensure Victorians dealing with the compounding challenges of running a small business can get the support they need as they navigate their way through the crisis.

Many businesses will need to change the way they do things in order to remain sustainable, while others are dealing with challenges such as cash flow, reduced sales and debt for the very first time. The Government will establish a $10 million business mentoring program, pairing small business owners with experienced professionals who can help them navigate their way through the crisis.

The package also provides a $40 million capped fund for regional tourism businesses to cover the costs of refunds, as well as marketing campaigns to boost region to region visitation while Melbourne is locked down. 


tuesday JULY 7 2020

summary of restrictions for industry: return to stage 3


From 11.59am Wednesday 8 July, Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to Stage 3 "stay at home" restrictions. For Victoria's urban development industry operations specifically, this affects:

  • - Display homes 
  • - Land sales offices 
  • - Sales suites 
  • - Open-for-inspections 
  • - Auctions 
  •  

These operations will go back to operating remotely as much as possible, and inspections by appointment are strongly encouraged. 

Building, development and constructions worksites will remain open as an essential service and must operate under the most recent version of the COVID-19 Industry Guidelines.

  • - Download your copy of the COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry (version 4, updated 24 June 2020): Click here.
     
  • - Find out what’s changed since the previous Industry Guidelines in the Explanatory Note: Click here.
  •  

If you are a member of UDIA Victoria with essential employees travelling across restricted areas to a worksite, please contact us to obtain a letter your employee(s) can present on request. To obtain this letter, you must confirm you are a member of UDIA Victoria for 2020-21. Please email us on admin@udiavic.com.au.

Statement from the Premier including summary of changes to restrictions: Click here


WEDNESDAY JUly 1 2020

Victoria's continued commitment to the construction sector

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has reaffirmed the importance of the building, construction and development sector to the Victorian economy.

In his Statement of Continued Commitment to the Construction Sector, the Treasurer thanks the industry for keeping many Victorian workers safe and for staying open through the pandemic.

He commits to continuing the collaborative approach that has guided us all well during the crisis period.

UDIA Victoria 
continues to work proactively and productively with the Victorian Treasurer and the Victorian Government on behalf of our members.
tuesday june 30 2020

udia victoria calls for overhaul of 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.

Click here to read our case for reform. 

wednesday JUNE 24 2020

updated version of covid-19 industry guidelines

An updated version of the COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry has been released.

The increase in positive coronavirus cases in the community, brings a heightened risk of COVID-19 appearing on site, but with continued diligence in applying the most current Industry Guidelines, including effective screening of workers coming to site, physical distancing etc., sites can be safe from transmission. 

Find out what’s changed since the previous Industry Guidelines in the Explanatory Note.

Download your copy of the COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry (version 4, updated 24 June 2020) 
TuesdaY JUNE 23 2020

udia victoria calls for building victoria's recovery taskforce extension
 
We have written to Treasurer Pallas and Minister Wynne in recent weeks 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.

Click here to read the letter. 

monDAY JUNE 15 2020

new vic business growth fund

Treasurer Tim Pallas today opened the $250 million Victorian Business Growth Fund – a program that will see Government partner with First State Super and back small-to-medium enterprises who want to grow but can’t raise the funds or find the right investment partner.

The Victorian Business Growth Fund is a Victorian-first initiative that will invest in business on commercial terms and take an equity stake in business, rather than providing a grant. These investments will help drive permanent, high-skilled jobs in priority areas of the economy, including jobs for people who are unemployed, jobs for apprentices or jobs for people attempting to reskill.

For more information about the Victorian Business Growth Fund or to apply online, visit dtf.vic.gov.au/businessgrowthfund

friDAY JUNE 12 2020

ADVOCACY progress: taskforce considering moratorium on taxes 

The Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has written to UDIA Victoria, advising that he has asked the Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce (BVRT) to seriously consider our proposal to place a moratorium on new residential development charges and policy changes during the coronavirus situation, as well as our proposed assessment criteria for fast tracking shovel-ready projects.

The BVRT is currently preparing its advice to government on a pathway forward to Victoria’s road to recovery from COVID-19. We are encouraged by Minister Wynne's letter advising us that he has asked them to consider UDIA Victoria's advice. 

Click here to see our letter advocating for a moratorium on new residential development charges and policy changes.

Click here to see our Proposed Criteria for Assessment of Shovel-Ready Projects here.

Click here for more information on the BVRT.

THURSDAY JUNE 11 2020

ADVocacy in action: udia urging councils & vcat to unlock $10b of development activity 

UDIA Victoria is featured in a front-page article in The Australian today (cont. page 4), advocating for development projects to be assessed faster, particularly in light of the time-constrained HomeBuilder program.

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Our CEO Danni Hunter is pictured on-site with UDIA Victoria Board Member Andrew Fortey. 
 

Article excerpt:

“There is a pipeline of more than $10bn of development activity tied up in local and state planning processes, including at local council and at VCAT,” Ms Hunter said. “If unlocked, this pipeline could generate close to 73,000 new Victorian jobs.”

The UDIA had previously written to councils at the start of the pandemic, urging them to “keep the doors open for business, digitally and remotely” and continue issuing planning approvals “to minimise disruption and to increase the future pipeline of work to ensure the viability of the industry”. However, reports from members have suggested that, at some councils, approvals have slowed.

thursday june 4 2020

national housing & construction stimulus package released 

The Commonwealth Government today unveiled its stimulus package to support the housing and construction sector recover from the economic effects of COVID-19.

Click here to read our FACT SHEET.

 

Summary of key points for members:
- $25,000 to eligible owner-occupiers (not just first home buyers) to build a new home where contract is entered between now and Dec 31, 2020.
- Construction must be contracted to commence within three months of contract date.
- Threshold of $750,000 for the value of the new home (including land).
- Income thresholds: 125,000 for singles, $200,000 for couples.
- The package appears to target titled or near titled land stock.

 

Our research partner RPM Real Estate estimates that in Victoria:

~ There are 2,700 titled lots available now.
~
Based on a 20% stock return to market over 12 months, there would be a further 3,300 lots that could title. This equates to a total of 6,000 dwellings that would be eligible through the pipeline for this grant program if it were to run for 12 months.
- If the scheme runs for a little under 7 months, as proposed,
the total is the current 2,700 lots plus 7 months' worth of the stock return to market (1,950); totalling 4,650.

Please note: Initial calculations referred to by UDIA Victoria were based on the incentive program being in play for 12 months only.

Residential development is one of the first industries to receive a dedicated stimulus package. UDIA Victoria commends the Federal Government on hearing our calls and recognising the industry’s vital contribution to jobs, the economy, and communities right around the country. We will continue to engage with the Andrews Government to ensure Victorians can benefit appropriately from this national package.

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Information about the Government’s plan can be accessed here.

UDIA Victoria's media release can be accessed here.  


MONDAY 25 MAY 2020

building recovery taskforce, fast-tracking update

The Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce was established last month to identify and accelerate shovel-ready priority projects that will deliver short and long-term jobs.

The latest major projects to receive approvals include:
• A $290 million, 21 storey office building at 140 Lonsdale Street, which will become the Melbourne headquarters of the Australian Federal Police
• A 68-storey development at 640 Bourke Street, worth $234 million, including 857 apartments, retail space and an art gallery
• A $180 million, 41-storey hotel development at 600 Lonsdale Street featuring 288 hotel rooms, as well as office and retail space
• A 20 storey, commercial office and retail building at 683-699 Elizabeth St located in an emerging biomedical precinct worth $60 million
• A $60 million residential development on the former Commonwealth Games village site at 67-81 Galada Avenue, Parkville.

Together, these projects will create thousands of construction jobs and house thousands more – driving economic activity in the inner-city.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne has also called in from VCAT a $250 million development at 31 Station Street Caulfield, which includes a build-to-rent scheme, affordable housing and a supermarket, retail and office space. The call in means the Minister will make the final decision on the approval of this important project.

The Taskforce is still calling for submissions of priority projects of state and regional significance that could be considered for development assistance, including those that may be awaiting a decision at VCAT or a local council.

Priority projects are being assessed for their capacity to protect and create jobs, stimulate economic recovery, and contribute to broader social objectives like affordable and social housing.

To view the full eligibility criteria for the Building Victoria Recovery Taskforce and to make a submission, visit planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/building-victorias-recovery-taskforce.

To learn more about the Building Victoria's Recovery Taskforce, including the role of UDIA Victoria as a member of the Steering Committee, please see our media release.


Sunday 24 MAY 2020

Roadmap to Recovery: Calling for Victoria to be the new homeowner state 

We have today launched the UDIA Victoria Roadmap to Recovery, which sends a clear and compelling message to the Victorian Government:
 
The road to economic recovery lies in Victoria becoming the Homeowner State.
 
The Roadmap to Recovery will:
 
- Enable more home buyers to finally get a leg up in the housing market;
- Keep tens of thousands of Victorians employed; and
- Secure Victoria’s economic future for generations to come.

Five big recommendations are at the heart of UDIA Victoria's Roadmap to Recovery.
 
1. IMMEDIATELY boost home buyer purchasing power.
Expand existing Government stimulus measures and incentive packages for new housing to boost demand and home buyer purchasing power.
 
2. Lock in 300,000 Victorian jobs.
Revolutionise Victoria's planning and development approval system to champion projects through the system with more efficiency than ever before to keep 300,000 Victorians employed.
 
3. Unlock greenfield development.
Fast track approvals, and pause policy changes, taxes and charges that will exacerbate the damaging effects of COVID-19, especially in greenfield locations.
 
4. Supercharge urban renewal.
Unlock Melbourne's potential competitive advantage by supercharging urban renewal and built form development.
 
5. Welcome to Victoria.
Energetically pursue interstate and international migration as a fundamental plank of the Victorian economy as Australia's borders reopen.

Click here to access the UDIA Victoria Roadmap to Recovery.
 
Click here to read our media release.

Click here to go to media coverage: UDIA calls on Andrews Government to make Victoria the homeowner state.


mondaY 18 MAY 2020

INDUSTRY WIN: Fast-tracking government construction projects 

The Victorian Government today launched the first part of its Building Works package, which will provide $2.7 billion towards fast-tracking government expenditure on building and construction projects.

This announcement represents the start of a meaningful investment program across Victoria, that will help our industry bring forward investment with confidence.

Spending and projects in the package announced reflect a government focus on community infrastructure such as schools, roads, train stations, public and community housing, and investment in our regional areas.  

In our COVID-19 Action Plan for Government, UDIA Victoria recommended that government bring forward their planned building and construction expenditure, and commit to a catalyst infrastructure program that would give industry much needed confidence. Today’s announcement does exactly that and we eagerly await the next part of Government’s Building Works package.  

Click here for more information on today's announcement. 


friday 15 MAY 2020

INDUSTRY WIN: 780 new dwellings funded through social housing growth fund  
 

The Victorian Government has announced the approval of 780 new social housing dwellings funded by the Social Housing Growth Fund.  The $1b fund was established in 2018 and has created an investment pipeline for new social housing and will fund the creation of 2.200 dwellings in the first five years.

UDIA Victoria welcomed the announcement from the Hon. Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning, and will continue live discussions with the Victorian Government and the Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce, about a broader funding pipeline for social and affordable housing in Victoria.

You can access UDIA Victoria’s submissions here:


Submission to the City of Melbourne’s draft Affordable Housing Strategy (April 2020)

Submission to the Ministerial Advisory Committee for Planning Mechanisms for Affordable Housing (December 2019) 


Wednesday 13 MAY 2020

Industry Win: Display homes, land sales offices & sales suites can re-open 

UDIA Victoria has confirmed with the Department of Health and Human Services, that COVID-19 restrictions will ease for display homes, land sales offices and sales suites IMMEDIATELY, from Wednesday 13 May 2020.

The eased restrictions mean:
 
Display homes can re-open. You may allow 10 people, plus the minimum number of people reasonably required to facilitate the display home visit.

Land sales offices can re-open. You may allow 10 people, plus the minimum number of people reasonably required to be working in the sales office. 

Sales suites can re-open. You may allow 10 people, plus the minimum number of people reasonably required to be working in the sales office. 

These changes come after Premier Daniel Andrews announced Monday that State Government will ease restrictions relating to open-for-inspections and auctions.

To recap on those changes please see the previous post. 
 
In all cases, the operator is required to keep records of names and contact details of each client, to assist in contact tracing if required.

Monday 11 May 2020

VIC LIFTS SOME RESTRICTIONS

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has today announced that State Government will ease some restrictions from 11.59pm Tuesday 12 May.

The more notable changes include: 

  • - New arrangements regarding open-for-inspections. For inspections, you may allow 10 people, plus the minimum number of people reasonably required to facilitate the inspection.
  •  
  • - New arrangements regarding auctions. Auction houses will be permitted. Gatherings must be restricted to 10 people only in addition to the minimum people required to facilitate the auction. 

In both cases, the operator is required to keep records of names and contact details of each client, to assist in contact tracing if required.

Other changes include: 
  • - Up to five visitors at home in addition to the normal residents of a household. 
  • - Public gatherings of 10 people are allowed outdoors.

Click here to see the Premier's media release.

Click here for more information on current and changing Victorian COVID-19 restrictions. 

MONDAY 11 MAY 2020

advocacy in action: urging councils to extend work hours 

In a joint letter with MBV to councils across Victoria, we have made the case for a temporary extension of worksite hours. 

Click here to read the letter.


MONDAY 11 MAY 2020

ADVOCACY IN ACTION: post-permit fast track process

UDIA Victoria has long advocated for a solution to the problem of post-permit blockages in the planning and approval system. This is one of the most significant blockage points in the system, and ties millions of dollars in economic value up at any one time.

Once a planning permit has been issued, the permit holder is required to satisfy the conditions that have been imposed by the Council and each of the Referral Authorities. At this point, the substantive issue of whether or not the permit should be issued has been resolved.

The satisfaction of these conditions is a matter entirely between the Council and the permit holder. If the condition involves a Referral Authority, for example Department of Transport, then that authority would also be party to the discussion.

Presently if the Council or Referral Authority fails to make a decision within the statutory timeframe or seeks to impose requirements above and beyond those stipulated in the permit condition, the permit holder has ineffective appeal rights.

UDIA Victoria is proposing that a fast track process be established and properly funded, through a dedicated list at VCAT, set up to deal with disputes following the issue of a permit.

Click here to read our submission to the Building Victoria's Taskforce co-chairs and secretariat. 


Thursday 7 MAY 2020

government launches project fast track; you can now submit shovel-ready projects

State Government has listened to UDIA Victoria's calls to fast track shovel-ready building and construction projects, opening up Project Fast Track for industry

We put forward a set of assessment criteria to give industry guidance on what projects are eligible; Government has modelled their final set of priority project eligibility criteria on this work. 

You're invited to submit shovel-ready projects that meet the eligibility criteria. We urge you to act responsibly in only submitting genuinely eligible projects, so as not to overwhelm the system and discount the success of the initiative. 

Participants in UDIA Victoria's shovel-ready projects advocacy initiative are strongly encouraged to submit.

DO NOT MISS an exclusive industry briefing on Project Fast Track and other initiatives by the Building Victoria's Recovery Taskforce, next Friday 15th May. Register now.

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Important links

tuesday 5 MAY 2020

added tax relief for jobkeeper recipients

We've commended the Andrews Government on today’s announcement, which includes added tax relief for businesses receiving JobKeeper, and the freezing of a host of fees and fines that are putting added pressure on households during the coronavirus crisis.he Fire Services Property Levy will also be frozen at this year’s collection level.
Click here for more information on the Government's announcement.
UDIA Victoria is now calling for the Government to gear a similar response in support of the development, building and construction sector.
Our message is clear: Government must pause policy changes, taxes and charges on the development, building and construction sector. The cost of going ahead with new and increased development charges at this time, will be far higher than any revenue these changes would bring in for the State Government.
Read our media release:
UDIA warns cost of increased development fees will be devastating.

Click here to read our letter to the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, asking for a moratorium on proposed new or amended fees, levies and taxes, or planning scheme amendments that will increase the cost of residential development.

friday 1 may 2020

new commercial leases & licence regulations; free mediation service for disputes

Commercial Lease and License Regulations have been released to compliment the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020. These regulations will guide the negotiation of lease and license agreements during the six month period of the legislation’s enforcement.

The Victorian Government has established a free mediation service to help small and medium business tenants and landlords reach a fair agreement in rent disputes arising as a result of COVID-19. 

Click here to learn more about the free mediation service for commercial tenancy disputes. 

Click here to see the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulations 2020.


FRIDAY 1 MAY 2020

udia national: firb approvals for residential land and apartment acquisitions


UDIA National has moved swiftly to develop a plan of action, advise government and industry and recommend interventions needed to sustain housing and construction activity during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. ‘Helping Australia Bounce Back’ – UDIA’s advocacy action plan, details six strategic steps governments can take to stimulate housing and construction during and after the pandemic.
 
Of critical importance is the need for governments, regulators, financial institutions and industry to sustain a continued flow of credit to homebuyers and investors, and to support property transactions and settlements.
 
These issues have been prioritised by UDIA National, alongside the extensive proposals and policy gains being advanced by our state divisions to reduce taxes, cut red tape and fast track development approvals.

Click here to learn more about the UDIA National 'Helping Australia Bounce Back' advocacy document.


wednesday 29 april 2020

vba hotline for construction sites 


The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has established a dedicated call centre to assist with queries related to coronovirus and construction management.
To speak to a specialist VBA team, call the DHHS Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 and select Option 5.


TUESDAY 28 APRIL 2020

calling for a moratorium on development levies & policy change 

Recognising current circumstances, UDIA Victoria has asked the Planning Minister to urgently impose a moratorium on proposed new or amended fees, levies and taxes, or planning scheme amendments that will increase the cost of residential development.

We have asked the moratorium be in place until 30 June 2021.

At a Local Government level, the moratorium should include proposals for:
  • - increasing public open space levies;
  • - social and affordable housing; and
  • - new design standards and requirements.
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At a State Government level, the moratorium should include proposals for:
  • - a social and affordable housing levy;
  • - a new infrastructure contribution for strategic redevelopment areas;
  • - annual indexation and increase of the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution;
  • - adjustment and Indexation of the Melbourne Strategic Environmental Mitigation Levy; and
  • - Better Apartment Design Guideline amendments.

We have welcomed the Victorian Government’s decision to delay implementation of the Environmental Protection Authority Regulations 2020 until 1 July 2021.

Click here to read our letter to the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne.

Tuesday 28 APRIL 2020

advocacy win: Planning & environment list issues to move through vcat 

The Victorian Government has listened to our calls to keep planning and development applications moving through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), today announcing $5.2 million funding for VCAT upgrades.

The upgrades will be rolled out over the next 12 weeks and will enable important planning matters to be heard remotely, ensuring billions of dollars’ worth of projects can progress.

 

Only injunctions and other urgent matters have been scheduled since late March because of the coronavirus. This has meant that current and pending matters, especially Planning and Environment List issues were on hold.

With these matters able to proceed, businesses and individuals will have greater certainty on their planning and development matters.

Click here to read the Victorian Government media release. 


monday 27 APRIL 2020

advocating to keep $3.5 billion project value moving through vcat

We have today written to the Minister of Planning seeking his urgent assistance to keep planning and development applications moving through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). 


Building, construction and development activity is classified as ‘essential’ and it is imperative that all components of the planning and development approval system continue to operate, so the industry can continue to operate.

Despite this, VCAT has halted hearings, affecting a pipeline of between $3 and $3.5 billion in project value in Victoria.

VCAT has advised that until at least 15 May 2020, is has effectively closed its doors and is not hearing any matters. 

Click here to read our letter. 


Friday 24 APRIL 2020

Councils called on to extend worksite hours across Victoria

The Victorian Government has called on all local councils to follow the example set by the City of Melbourne and extend worksite hours for construction and development sites during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This direction comes following sustained advocacy by UDIA Victoria in partnership with Master Builders Victoria to see worksite hours extended. Our advocacy has focussed on finding ways that industry can best manage and implement social distancing measures whilst not negatively impacting productivity, avoid project delays and sustain current levels of employment.


Click here for a copy of the Victorian Government’s Local Government Bulletin.

Click here for a copy of the UDIA Victoria and Master Builders Victoria letter to the Municipal Association of Victoria.


Friday 24 APRIL 2020

Dedicated Government Taskforce to safeguard industry; UDIA Victoria appointed to the Steering Committee

The Victorian Government has set up a nation-leading Building Victoria's Recovery Taskforce to keep our industry running through the coronavirus crisis.

The Taskforce is focused on boosting industry activity over the short, medium and long term. The Taskforce reports to the Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas and Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne. of members and our important first home buyers.


See our media release for more information.

See the Victorian Government media release.

See UDIA Victoria’s comments in today’s Australian Financial Review.

Click the below video to see what we had to say on Channel 7 News.



Click the below video to see what we had to say on Channel 9 News.


Thursday 23 APRIL 2020

advocacy win for regional first home buyers

The Victorian Government is extending the $20,000 First Home Owner Grant for people buying or building a new home in regional Victoria for an extra 12 months. 

We commend UDIA Victoria's regional chapter teams in Geelong and Bendigo for making this case on behalf of members and our important first home buyers.


Click here for more information. 


THURSDAY 24 APRIL 2020

covid-19 omnibus bill passes parliament: Changes to planning act

The COVID-19 Omnibus Bill has passed Parliament. The Bill includes temporary commercial and residenital tenancy changes and amendments to enable the online facilitation of planning.

Click here to learn about how the Bill impacts the Planning and Environment Act 1987.  


wednesday 22 APRIL 2020

new modelling confirms economic hit

New modelling released by the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) shows the potential impact that COVID-19 may have on the state’s economy. Under the modelling, the economy is anticipated to contract in the June quarter of 2020, with real GSP estimated to be about 14 per cent lower in both the June and September quarters than forecast in the 2019-20 Budget Update.
 
Under this scenario, Victoria’s unemployment rate could rise to 11 per cent, and job losses could peak at around 270,000 in the September quarter.
 
These estimates include the mitigating impacts of Victorian and Commonwealth Government support packages.
 
Property prices could decline by up to 9 per cent from March to December 2020. The road to recovery will be longer than first expected, with the magnitude of the downturn meaning that Victoria would likely record negative economic growth in both 2019-20 and 2020-21.
 
Click here to see the DTF Coronavirus Economic Outlook Fact Sheet.
 
Click here to read the Government’s media release.


TUESDAY 21 APRIL 2020

UPDATED GUIDELINES FOR victoria's BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY 

Guidelines for Victoria's building and construction industry are being regularly updated to reflect changes resulting from Government announcements, directions of the Victorian Chief Health Officer and best practices.
 
The purpose of these Guidelines is to:
- Provide direction to industry employers and workers;
- Outline the steps to be taken to best provide a safe and healthy environment; and
- Identify the action available in the event of interruption to building and construction work, as a result of COVID-19.

For our industry to stay safe and open, UDIA Victoria members must observe these Guidelines. Click here to access and download your copy. 


TUESDAY 21 APRIL 2020

The COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 will be introduced to Parliament Thursday, setting out a range of temporary changes to protect tenants and injured workers and allow vital government functions to continue operating in line with social distancing and other requirements.

Key points for industry:
- The Bill implements the National Cabinet tenancy reforms announced last week – enshrining the temporary ban on rental evictions and rent increases in law, and boosting mediation support to help landlords and tenants negotiate new, fair rental agreements. The related land tax relief for landlords will be implemented through a separate Appropriation Bill.
 
- The Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018 will now be pushed back to commence on 1 July 2021 – or earlier by proclamation – to allow business and industry to focus on the immediate impacts of coronavirus.
 
- The Bill amends the Local Government Act 2020 to allow virtual meetings for local councils, allow planning permits to be displayed and sent electronically, and enable planning panels to conduct hearings by video-conference or in other remote ways.
 
- Some of the Government’s earlier rental reforms will also be delayed until 1 January 2021 to accommodate disruptions due to the pandemic.
 
More information here.


Monday 20 APRIL 2020 

National agreement to maintain planning approvals

Federal and state governments have announced a new national agreement designed to maintain planning approvals, and enable other planning regulation amendments, during the pandemic.

Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has agreed with the Australian Government Minister for Cities, other State and Territory Planning Ministers, and President of the Australia Local Government Association, that planning systems and the development approvals pipeline in Victoria must continue to function during the COVID-19 crisis so that jobs and businesses can be maintained.

Minister Wynne has entered a National Agreement specifying that adjustments to jurisdictional planning systems will be required, in accordance with a set of principles on how our planning systems should operate during this time.

Click here to see a set of principles intended to guide incoming changes to planning regimes.

Changes will be made to ensure development, building and construction activity can continue to operate at as close to normal levels as possible, while meeting public and workplace health and safety requirements.

UDIA Victoria is using member feedback to push forward the reforms that will best protect the industry’s jobs and businesses during this critical time. See what we're advocating for in our COVID-19 Action Plan. 


thursday 16 APRIL 2020 

vic funding to SUPPORT jobs & Recovery

The Victorian Treasurer today announced $24.5 billion in emergency funding to fight coronavirus, support jobs, and set Victoria up to recover from the pandemic over the next two years. 

Click here to read Government media release.

Wednesday 15 APRIL 2020

Supporting Tenants And Landlords 

The Victorian Parliament will meet for an emergency sitting next Thursday. Legislation put into Parliament will include a $500 million package to help residential and commercial tenants and landlords through the pandemic.

The package includes 25% land tax discount for landlords providing tenants with rent relief, while any remaining land tax can be deferred until March 2021.  


Click here to read the Government media release.  

Wednesday 15 APRIL 2020

industry's publicly calls for fast track out of crisis

The UDIA Victoria Action Plan for Government and Industry is getting good traction in both public and private domains.

The Age has written up our key recommendations for government, including the need to:
- speed up local and state planning decisions;
- appoint a committee to streamline approvals;
- increase planning resources to help unclog the state appeals tribunal;
- cut development fees and levies; and
- increase the first-home owner grant.

Click here to read the article published in The Age.

Click here to read the UDIA Victoria COVID-19 Action Plan.

MONDAY 13 APRIL 2020

VPA UPDATE

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) has advised that in coming months, VPA’s focus will be on accelerating and prioritising delivery of plans for designated growth areas wherever possible.

They're working to meet existing deadlines and endeavour to reach out to their project stakeholders directly with an update. However, if you are still looking for more information about how they are managing shared projects, you can get in touch with either your contact or via the general VPA email at info@vpa.vic.gov.au.


THURSDAY 9 APRIL 2020

UDIA PROPOSES DEVELOPMENT FACILITATION PATHWAY FOR SHOVEL-READY PROJECTS

UDIA Victoria has written to the Minister for Planning and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, proposing a Development Facilitation Pathway within DELWP, for ‘shovel-ready projects’ to be triaged and fast tracked for assessment and approval.

We proposed a set of criteria that Government could use to assess projects for fast tracked approval by government authorities.

Our industry call-out for shovel-ready projects last week, resulted in close to 200 submissions in just 48 hours. This information was put to Government, demonstrating the huge pipeline of projects that can be activated to support our sector and the Victorian economy during this time.

Government’s early response to our Development Facilitation Pathway proposal has been positive.

See our letter to the Minister for Planning here.

See our Proposed Criteria for Assessment of Shovel-Ready Projects here.


TUESDAY 7 APRIL 2020

National Cabinet Mandatory code of conduct and sme commercial leasing principles

Australia's National Cabinet today decided its Mandatory Code of Conduct and SME Commercial Leasing Principles for the COVID-19 pandemic period. Information can be found on the PM's website here: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-070420  

TUESDAY 7 APRIL 2020

ADVOCACY WIN: Advisory Note for RAP fieldwork and engagement during COVID-19 Stage 3 restrictions

We have worked with Aboriginal Affairs Victoria to develop an Advisory Note for Registered Aboriginal Parties to continue to undertake fieldwork within COVID-19 restrictions, and to keep work progressing without fieldwork if necessary.
 
This is critically important for keeping development and construction sites operating, and is a positive advocacy outcome for greenfield developers in particular. 
 
The Advisory Note says that fieldwork can continue within COVID-19 restrictions, but if RAPs do decide to suspend worksite visits, assessments of Cultural Heritage Management Plans and permit conditions, can and should continue with full and proper consultation.
 
This Advisory Note from Aboriginal Affairs Victoria will help our industry and RAPs to navigate through the urban development process within the COVID-19 restrictions as appropriate. 

Click here to read the advisory note. 

MONDAY 6 APRIL 2020

Treasurer's message to industry 

The Treasurer of Victoria has released a meaningful commitment for our industry and an important message for all those working on-site to continue implementing safe work practices.
 
Make sure your organisation, your team and your worksites are implementing all the guidelines and social distancing measures to keep people in the industry safe and healthy. 

DHHS guidance note can be accessed here.

Further guidance developed by UDIA Victoria and other industry associations and unions, with input from WorkSafe and DHHS, available here.

Click here to read the letter from the Treasurer. 

Monday 6 APRIL 2020

ADVOCACY WIN: Councils directed to keep wheels turning

State Government has officially advised local councils that they must not dismiss or stand down staff, ensuring they remain open, productive and responsive to essential service industries like ours.
 
This is good news for our sector amid concern that councils would fall behind and further delay development activity during the COVID-19 crisis.
 
We commend Government on their positive reception to our COVID-19 Action Plan, which calls for a move like this. We advised the Government to keep councils open and productive, providing confidence to industry and a future pipeline of work. They listened.

Friday 3 APRIL 2020

ADVOCACY IN ACTION, WEEKLY WRAP

UDIA Victoria have worked diligently this week to put forward our industry’s solutions to Government for keeping the Victorian economy going through the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for a wrap up of our key advocacy activities. 


Thursday 2 APRIL 2020 

UDIA has today joined forces with Master Builders Victoria in a written letter to the Municipal Association of Victoria, urging local councils to extend worksite hours.
Click here for the letter.


THURSDAY 2 APRIL 2020 

UDIA National has today released ‘Helping Australia Bounce Back’ – an advocacy document that details six strategic steps governments can take now to stimulate housing and construction, and how they fit in the context of our larger policy goals. Click here to read more. 


tuesday 31 march 2020

UPDATED gUIDELINES FOR THE BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY 

Today an updated set of guidelines for employers and workers was released. This is to assist workplaces to manage any potential threat of COVID-19. For our industry to stay safe and open, everyone most observe these guidelines. Click above for further information.


TUESDAY 31 MARCH 2020

COVID-19 Jobkeeper payment 

Last night the Australian Federal Government has delivered a historic wage subsidy to the value of $130 billion, impacting around 6 million workers. The payment will ensure eligible employers (including not-for-profits) and employees stay connected while some businesses move into hibernation.Click above for further information.

To register your interest visit the ATO website here: https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/

To read more about yesterday’s announcement please click here: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/130-billion-jobkeeper-payment-keep-australians-job

Comprehensive fact sheets from Treasury can be found here: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/jobkeeper


Monday 30 MARCH 2020

Best practice for managing construction sites in the coronavirus environment

This note provides guidance on best practice for reducing the spread of coronavirus within the construction industry. The construction industry is encouraged to review this guidance and implement appropriate measures on their construction sites.
This guidance is correct at the time of publication and its application may be impacted upon by future announcements relating to the operation of the construction sector. Click above for further information.


friday 27 MARCH 2020

BUILDING, CONSTRUCTION and Development Industry Lives to work another day

Premier Daniel Andrews has this afternoon announced that Victoria is not yet progressing to Stage 3 restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. UDIA Victoria has been working night and day to present a case to government that the building, construction and development industry is implementing and managing social distancing measures and health practises to keep worksites safe, healthy and compliant with all government requirements. Click above for further information.


wednesday 25 MARCH 2020

BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY EMPLOYEES AND UNIONS UNITE ON COVID-19 SAFETY MESSAGE

United group stress the need to follow appropriate measures and guidelines which stipulate strict hygiene practices, social distancing and separation of workers on meal breaks, in addition to other measures, to ensure sites can be kept safe and stay open. Employer groups and unions have worked together to develop guidelines in line with government recommendations and they should be adhered to immediately and followed dutifully by all employers and employees. Click above for further information.


TUESDAY 24 MARCH 2020 

UDIA VICTORIA COVID-19 ACTION PLAN FOR GOVERNMENT AND OUR INDUSTRY 

We are pleased to share our COVID-19 Action Plan with you as well as an open letter to all local councils, state government agencies, members of parliament and other stakeholders which we sent yesterday. On behalf of our critically important industry, we are calling on Government to remain open for business and remain engaged with our industry. 


monday 23 MARCH 2020 

Building, construction and development sites to remain open
Premier Dan Andrews has this morning confirmed that Victoria is implementing a shutdown of all non-essential activity at 12pm today to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus. At this stage, the shutdown does not include building, construction and development sites as they remain an essential service for the time being. Click above for further information.


saturday 21 MARCH 2020 

Economic Survival Package to Support victorian businesses and jobs

The Victorian Government has today announced the biggest business relief package in the nation. The package is for small and medium sized Victorian businesses and employees dealing with immediate and anticipated flow-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Click above for further information.


TUESDAY 17 MARCH 2020 

COVId-19 and udia evolving member services

Like you, we have spent recent days working through the implications for UDIA Victoria’s team and how we best continue to deliver member services.  UDIA Victoria’s Board of Directors met last night and the Executive Committee will continue to meet weekly, enabling our organisation to make agile decisions that are in the best interests of UDIA Victoria’s members, our business and our team. Click above for further information.


COVID-19 Government advice