The government of Western Australia is supporting the construction industry across the state with a number of schemes to boost productivity and longevity. A major announcement this week was the upheaval to the local planning system with a once-in-a-lifetime reform. In conjunction with a streamlined tender process for working with the WA government, The housing investment package, and a host of other statewide construction initiatives, tradies in Western Australia will hopefully find some relief and increased work opportunities as we ease out of the COVID-19 restrictions.
The biggest announcement this week has been around the dramatic overhaul of the WA planning system. The result of three years of consultations, Action Plan on Planning Reform will see 26 key items changed in a bid to create a more transparent, straight forward planning system.
As of Wednesday 20th May, a new development application process is now in place for significant developments to ensure work can start as quickly as possible.
Significant developments are:
Other key reforms are the result of community and stakeholder feedback:
"The proposals within this Bill will bring a long-awaited overhaul of the State planning framework. We have a genuine opportunity to remove barriers and red tape for small business, local government and developers and enable them to get back to work."
The $150 million Housing Investment Package was announced on 19th May to provide a boost to the residential construction sector in WA. The scheme will fund the construction of 500 new social and affordable homes, the refurbishment of a further 70 homes plus the construction of 200 additional shared equity homes in partnership with Keystart.
"It is estimated that the package will provide around 1,000 jobs in the property and home building industries, and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity."
The Procurement Bill 2020 was introduced on 13th May to make it easier for local businesses to work with the WA Government.
The new Act includes:
A new State-wide Construction Panel has also been introduced to fast track the process of awarding of contracts for transport construction projects up to a value of $20 million. This aims to expand the spread of work among small and medium-sized contractors while minimising the costs of tendering for companies. 24 road and maritime projects at a cost of $140 million are expected to be fast-tracked under the scheme creating approximately 1,000 local jobs. Additionally, Main Roads is fast-tracking the tendering process for a number of large-scale road projects, worth $2.37 billion and estimated to create an extra 13,000 jobs.
The rollout of community batteries will begin next month supplying a better quality, more reliable power supply across the state. Construction is expected to start in June on the first 464 kilowatt hour (kWh) regional community battery for Kalgoorlie-Boulder. This will allow homes and businesses in Kalgoorlie to integrate rooftop solar and new technologies onto the grid. A great time to start promoting if you offer these services!
"This is a great example of the way regional areas enthusiastically embrace new technologies, and a positive result from our Government's feasibility study into opportunities for solar in the Goldfields."
Earlier in May, the WA government announced fixed royalty rates on construction and industrial minerals until July 2025. This includes locally sourced products critical to supporting building and infrastructure projects across the state
The current rate royalties are separated into:
In April the WA government announced a new grants scheme worth $9.5 million to help employers retain their existing apprentices, with payments beginning from 1 June 2020, backdated from 1 April 2020.
Check out the video below and head over to the CTF website for more information.
All these new schemes will be a great boost for the WA construction sector, driving increased job opportunities as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
To keep updated with all the latest COVID-19 schemes in your state, head over to our Tradie Survival Pack, a free resource we created to constantly update you with all the latest announcements relevant to trades and construction as they happen.