We are already experiencing significant activity associated with the Ichthys project, the largest single project ever undertaken in the Northern Territory, with the level of investment set to peak during 2014. However, economic growth in the Territory is expected to continue at relatively high levels, at least in the medium term.
The Urban Development Institute of Australia (NT) believes that the Northern Territory needs a solid foundation of planning, a capable and modern development industry and appropriate legislative, policy and operational frameworks to ensure we can deliver efficient, sustainable growth and be in a position to best take advantage of opportunities.
The appointment by the NT Government of a new Planning Commission has significantly enhanced the Territory’s capacity for long-term planning. A “perfect storm” of planning has been brewing, and will add to our ability to ensure future growth is sustainable: ingredients include the planning outcomes now being delivered by the Planning Commission, the very professional Darwin CBD Masterplanning process, the work of the NT Government Architect and the Department of Lands Planning and the Environment (DLPE) on urban design and the new “can-do” approach adopted across the Territory by the Department.
New policy and operational initiatives being implemented by the Department, in consultation with UDIA (NT), have already lead to significant improvements in the ability of the industry to deliver projects in a more timely and efficient manner.
The Urban Development Institute of Australia (NT) has an important role to play in ensuring the Territory’s development industry is “growth ready”. One of our greatest strengths is our diverse membership and much of the work that is being done is on a voluntary basis by our members, which then benefits the entire industry. 2013 has been a particularly busy time for us with a variety of notable achievements. Our activities which have helped to build industry capacity and profile during 2013 have included:
- Enhancing communication between industry and Government through organising events such as presentations by the EPA Chairman and the Government architect;
- Building industry understanding of the demand for different types of housing through our workshop titled “Accommodating Darwin’s Growth”, delivered in partnership with DLPE;
- Delivery of a NAB presentation on managing risks and achieving finance in a tight lending environment during October Business Month;
- The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the UDIA Federation, providing access for NT members to a wealth of national policy information and advocacy services on Commonwealth matters affecting industry efficiency;
- Active participation in the national UDIA campaign in support of affordable housing during the lead-up to the recent Federal election;
- Development of a new web site which provides comprehensive information on industry issues, promotes events and also gives members access to a wide range of information resources which were previously unavailable;
- Promotion of the highly successful EnviroDevelopment program in the Northern Territory through delivery of a presentation by the national coordinator, again during October Business Month;
- Preparation of an industry position Paper on Water Sensitive Urban Design, distribution of that paper to relevant NT Government contacts and participation in discussions and feedback regarding formulation of Government policy in this important area;
- Delivery of another successful development workshop in Alice Springs, including a keynote address by nationally and internationally acclaimed speaker Paul Pisasale, Mayor of Ipswich;
- Providing support for initiatives to stimulate Chinese investment in the Northern Territory through participation in the Australia China Business Council’s Beijing investment event;
- Delivery of a well-attended greenfield developer / valuation industry fact-finding tour during March, which included visits to new housing sites at Breezes Muirhead, The Heights Durack, Zuccoli, Johnston stage 2, Coolalinga and Bellamack.
During 2013 the development industry has continued to work tirelessly on the planning and delivery of new greenfield housing sites and new apartment complexes to meet the voracious appetite of the real estate market. But in addition to the delivery of on-ground outcomes, significant progress has been made on capacity-building within the industry and relationship-building between the Northern Territory’s development industry peak body and the NT Government.
UDIA (NT) would like to wish all members of our Industry a safe Christmas and prosperous new year. We look forward to the ongoing support of our membership and would encourage any businesses associated with property development which are not members to consider the ongoing benefits of becoming involved.