Well things are truly underway and into the swing of things now, we held our first event of the year Illawarra Outlook 2020 which was a terrific event to kick start the year. On 26 March, we will be holding our next event which will be a site tour of the Signature Building Development and will provide a fantastic educational and networking experience.
On the advocacy front, we held our first Illawarra Committee Meeting in February and talked about priorities for the year ahead. Some of these include Planning & Housing (with a number of strategies and plans set for review), planning in Wollongong CBD and revitalisation of Nowra CBD, City Deal for the region, Diversity and continued expansion into the Shoalhaven.
There are a number of important advocacy activities in which we will be part of this year including the review of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Plan, Local Strategic Planning Statements for local councils, City Centre Planning Review for Wollongong CBD and local housing strategies which will all feed into the Committee’s priorities and advocacy agenda.
I will continue to keep you updated on these matters as they progress and look forward to working with you all.
Illawarra Outlook 2020
On 28 February, we held our Illawarra Outlook 2020 Event which was attended by 220 people. We had an excellent line up of speakers with Chief Economist of REA Group, Nerida Consibee providing the keynote which focused on the economic outlook for the year ahead and data on the property market across the Illawarra Shoalhaven.
Some key insights from Nerida’s keynote included:
- Population growth is strong in the region and affordability challenges in Sydney means the region is attracting young people priced out of the Sydney market.
- Illawarra house price growth has been one of the strongest nationally over the past five years and investor interest in NSW is growing, particularly for houses.
- First home buyer interest is also growing, in Sydney and Melbourne units are preferred but everywhere else a house is preferred.
- Illawarra sees the highest views per listing in regional NSW and rental demand is strong.
- Some of the big issues for housing this decade include climate change, affordability, intergenerational unfairness and housing supply.
Our panel speakers including Anthony Body – NSW Government, Tania Brown – SMART Facility, Kim Gregory – Investa, Peter Engelen – NSW Ports and moderator Mark Grimson – Economic Development Manager, discussed a range of topics including planning for the region, the office market, connectivity and transport, industrial sectors and trade and the future of our region.
Thank you to our long-time sponsors of Illawarra Outlook – MMJ Real Estate for such a great event and always being such great supporters of the Property Council!
Wollongong City Centre Planning Review
In 2016, Wollongong Council endorsed ‘A City for People’, a vision for Wollongong City Centre. A key recommendation from this was to test the planning policies to ensure it aligned with delivering the City Centre vision and this work has come together in the Wollongong City Centre Urban Design Framework.
The recommendations presented in the Urban Design Framework will be the basis for drafting changes to City Centre planning controls and is currently on exhibition. We encourage you to take part in this process and provide your feedback to Wollongong Council here.
The Wollongong City Centre Planning Review has developed the following recommendations:
- Prioritising jobs by safeguarding land for commercial development
- Encouraging a variety of housing types in the right locations to support City life
- Defining a thriving retail network
- Clearly guiding development to respond to context
- Elevating the importance of a well-designed City Centre
- Strengthening connections to make it easier to move around
- Delivering high amenity public spaces.
Sustainable Homes Challenge 2020
The University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre together with McKinnon Walker Trust has invited 30 students from all over the world to come together to design sustainable, healthy and affordable homes as part of the Sustainable Homes Challenge 2020.
The students are helping to solve the world’s waste problem, in particular, finding solutions for using waste to build sustainable and liveable homes. Participants will work in teams to create a design proposal for a home that includes innovative components made from waste derived materials.
The challenge will run from February to July 2020, with all students coming together for a Finale Week at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus. The University is inviting industry partners to help make this challenge impactful and there are a number of opportunities to get involved and/or sponsor session. For more information you can contact the University directly here.