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WA calls on private sector to partner on urban infill

Artist’s impression of Connect Joondalup.
Artist’s impression of Connect Joondalup.

The Western Australian government is calling on the private sector to help deliver infill housing in four Perth precincts at Bentley, Joondalup, Beaconsfield and Cannington over the next 15 years.

“The Precincts” program, which is attempting to set a new benchmark for medium and high-density infill, is expected to create 5000 new homes.

Expressions of interest are now open for the first two projects, Connect Joondalup and Bentley 360, with the government looking for private sector partners who can help deliver its vision of “neighbourhoods with heart and soul”.

“The Department of Communities plays an important role in leading the planning and creation of new masterplanned communities, with people at the heart,” WA Department of Communities assistant director general commercial operations Greg Cash said.

“The Precincts will create destination communities attracting people from surrounding communities and across the metropolitan area enticed by the opportunity to create their ‘home’ in vibrant and active environments.

“Importantly, by catering to the needs and aspirations of all household types and lifestyles we will create places that encourage residents and visitors to participate in, and contribute to, the social fabric of their local communities.”

Mr Cash said each project would provide a range of housing types to reflect the diversity of the community, and would integrate social and affordable housing.

WA housing minister Peter Tinley said the project was a new approach to how the Department of Communities released land and collaborated with the development industry. 

“These projects represent WA’s biggest ever collection of infill opportunities and they will offer developers the chance to access prime state-owned land that supports medium-to-high density development,” Mr Tinley said.

The Connect Joondalup project is expected to deliver 1600 new homes over 10.1 hectares, with construction to see 2470 jobs and a $1.185 billion boost to the economy.

Bentley 360 is a 21.1-hectare site the government said was one of Perth’s most significant infill opportunities, which could have at least 1500 new dwellings.

“The Precincts program embraces the state government’s infill targets, leveraging links between land use and transport planning to create integrated and connected communities,” WA planning minister Rita Saffioti said.

The news was welcomed by the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s WA division, with chief executive Allison Hailes praising the government’s leadership.

“It is important, given some of the reservations in local communities about urban infill and increasing density, that we show the positive results that can be achieved through good planning and urban design,” Ms Hailes said.

The Department of Communities is undertaking a three-stage procurement process to identify a suitable developer or consortium. Expressions of interest close at 2.30pm WST on Wednesday 25 July 2018.

Connect-Joondalup-Urban-Heart

Artist’s impression of Connect Joondalup.

METRONET project to include affordable housing

Key to the realising the government’s infill agenda is the construction of its METRONET rail project, which received $1.05 billion funding support in last week’s federal budget.

The WA government also announced a $394 million ($184 million over forward estimates) housing package associated with the project in its state budget last week, which will see 1390 social and affordable homes built around stations, and is also expected to create 2350 new jobs and $765 million in economic activity.

“METRONET is not just about train lines or train stations. It’s also about the communities we can create around our world-class public transport network,” WA premier Mark McGowan said.

“By government and industry working together, we can create new METRONET community hubs that are liveable and connected to the things that matter to people’s everyday lives.”

Mr Tinley said the project would provide homes to 320 social housing tenants.

“This will include 200 of WA’s most vulnerable singles and couples – those who are currently on the state’s priority housing list.”

There will also be 300 homes designed to universal design specifications to assist those of varying ages and abilities. 

“Our existing train stations and new METRONET stations can be so much more than just a place where passengers tag off or tag on,” Ms Saffioti said. “They should be a vibrant community hub.”

The move was welcomed by the Property Council.

“Linking the government’s public housing investment plan with METRONET and partnering with industry is a smart long-term move,” PCA WA executive director Lino Iacomella said. 

“This will provide industry with the confidence to invest in precincts where ordinarily the market is not ready to build higher density projects.”

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