UDIA NATIONAL: The year that was and onto 2021

COVID-19 has forced us all to change our habits, in ways large and small. Right across the industry, the way we interact on work sites, in sales centres and all parts of our businesses has shifted.

Life will remain challenging till a vaccine is widely available, but we look forward to the prospect of recovery and rejuvenation in 2021.

Policy & advocacy focus – Working for our members

Throughout 2020 UDIA National Council and State CEOs worked tirelessly in developing practical policy recommendations for the Federal Government and released our “Helping Australia Bounce Back” and “Plan for Economic Revival” policy documents.

What was clear upon declaration of the pandemic was the residential construction sector needed to move to stimulate demand and activity swiftly. Our industry was at a critical junction with the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people up and down the supply chains at risk.

UDIA had a significant influence in the formulation and implementation of the HomeBuilder program launched by Government in June and its later extension.

One thing we consistently reinforced, and the stellar success of the HomeBuilder program reaffirms: housing and construction are an indispensable pillar of the nation’s economic health and prosperity.

Against an original estimate of 27,000 homes, more than 70,000 applications have been received to date – with 80 percent for the construction of new housing. The figures will translate to a mammoth surge in jobs, wages and activity.

UDIA National keeps stressing to the Federal Government, the Assistant Treasurer and Housing Minister, Michael Sukkar, and his office that:

  • Design and administration of the scheme should capture the broadest range of housing typologies possible, and the success in detached housing markets now needs to be replicated in a focus on semi-detached and apartment products, and
  • This potential phasing towards supporting higher density product will be needed to balance supply and demand when immigration and population growth return.

Our work on HomeBuilder was matched by consistent engagement with the Independent Review into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. Meetings with Environment Minister Sussan Ley, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister Ben Morton, and other critical stakeholders meant we’ve been able to give clear voice to the industry’s priorities.

Looking ahead

As we move into 2021, UDIA National will accelerate robust advocacy work on behalf of our Members to both shepherd the industry through continuing uncertain economic times and promote its role as central to the recovery of the nation’s fortunes as the pandemic eases.

Our policy focus remains laser sharp, guided by our Board-endorsed National Strategy, in ensuring we develop and advocate well-researched policy on the critical elements that impact on our industry.

Priorities for 2021 include:

  • Mounting the case for a holistic and aggressive plan to boosting immigration, net overseas migration and population growth;
  • Ensuring the success of HomeBuilder for the detached housing market is replicated via a plan to ensure semi-detached and apartment markets can switch on supply to meet future demand;
  • The seamless transition to a new EPBC Act regime, that reduces the time, cost and complexity of green tape;
  • Enhancing the research mandate of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) to identify the barriers to housing supply, and lift accountability and transparency to the performance of states and territories; and
  • Building a durable pipeline of infrastructure needed to service growing cities and regions – matched by robust land use plans.

The first point is particularly critical. Australia is a nation that depends on net overseas migration and population growth for so much of its productivity and economic momentum.

Australia will return from the pandemic with its reputation enhanced. Our management of the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 has been a gold-standard among international peers.

We are urging the Commonwealth to parlay that into resuming an aggressive approach to overseas migration as soon as practical, as well as a strategy that can accelerate the re-integration of traditional strengths – such as high rates of international students – with other opportunities that can be unlocked by our gold-standard reputation.

It’ll be good for the nation, good for the economy and jobs and good for housing markets. We look forward to continuing to engage with them.

2021 UDIA National Summit and Awards for Excellence

Due to COVID-19, UDIA too had to adjust. In March 2020, we had to cancel our National Congress with less than a weeks’ notice due to the emergence of coronavirus.

Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions and border closures, our 2021 National Congress will be held as a Virtual National Summit. This National Summit will provide a platform for our members to collaborate and hear from high profile industry speakers, learn and engage on critical issues and will conclude with the announcement of the UDIA National Awards for Excellence showcasing our finalists from across Australia and crowning the 2021 winners.

Stay tuned for registration details to become available soon to register for this exciting event.

UDIA National will continue to partner with each UDIA state office to work diligently to raise the industry’s profile, pursue good policy and ensure the dream of home ownership can flourish.