22/04/2010 - 00:00

Rethink urged on industrial land

22/04/2010 - 00:00


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With a potential boom looming, industry is questioning the state government’s industrial land priorities.

Rethink urged on industrial land

INDUSTRY has recommended the state government re-examine its priority industrial land sites, both in the short term and long term, in order to alleviate supply shortfalls of suitable industrial land.

In its submission to the Western Australian Planning Commission’s draft Industrial Land Strategy, the Property Council of Australia concluded the state government’s priority sites would only supply of 37 per cent of expected demand for the next 20 years.

Property Council of Australia executive director WA, Joe Lenzo, said 96 per cent of demand could be met through a greater focus on the rejuvenation of existing industrial estates, as well as the carefully planned development of new estates.

The Property Council formed its submission through extensive consultation with institutional and private developers, commercial agencies, local government agencies, major industrial tenants and redevelopment authorities.

For the short term (up to two years), the council’s report recommended a land release program of: 180 hectares in Hazelmere and Maddington/Kenwick; 470ha to Canning Vale, Jandakot, Hope Valley and West Forrestdale; and 44ha in Wangara.

For the medium term (three to eight years), the property council recommended a release program of 993ha in North East Baldivis, Hope Valley and South Forrestdale, and 1,095ha in North Ellenbrook/Bullsbrook and Pinjar South.

Long-term (10-plus years) priority sites would be Forrestfield, North Ellenbrook/Bullsbrook, Pinjar North, Yanchep, Brookdale and Gnangara.

Based on a best-case scenario, the report said this proposed land release schedule would add 2,772ha to supply, or 59 per cent of the projected 4,726ha of demand up to 2031, and when combined with infill of existing industrial markets, would meet 96 per cent of projected demand.

Mr Lenzo said for the best-case scenario to become reality a number of regulatory changes needed to occur, including: the introduction of industry codes, similar to R-Codes in residential subdivisions, for the division of industrial land estates; re-zoning of key industrial areas, ensuring regulatory approvals can be met for all sites; and a clear budget identified by the state government.

“One of the reasons we have demand for industrial land, but no supply, is that the current supply is made up of lots that are too small for what industry wants,” Mr Lenzo told WA Business News.

“What an I-code would do is ... preserve some of the larger lots so they could not be subdivided for smaller lots, they’d be preserved there for the demand we get from these large logistical-type companies who need huge warehouses.

“The other most important area is we need some re-zoning. That re-zoning really needs to be fast-tracked, because normally it takes 18 months to two years to re-zone something. So we’re saying, ‘Western Australian Planning Commission, have a look at these priority areas, re-zone them now, and have them ready’.

“Having done that, the next step is to make sure the necessary government type approvals are in place.”

Mr Lenzo was also concerned the industrial land strategy was not specific in costing for the establishment of some of the long-term priority sites.

“There is no money put aside to acquire the land through requisition, and there is no money put aside for the infrastructure required for this to become an industrial land zone,” he said.

“So we’re saying the government really needs to include some cost figures in its forward estimates,’ because without that, we’re really pushing uphill.”

Eastcourt Property Group general manager David Skinner welcomed the Industrial Land Strategy but said he would like to see more resources devoted by government to alleviate the shortfall in supply.

“It really needs the attention of government now, because the timeframe that’s going to be taken, even for the ones where the work’s already done on it, for example Forrestdale South, there’s still a couple years of work getting those available,” Mr Skinner said.

“It’s the same with Maddington-Kenwick; this is not something that can be brought on easily, and the strategy itself hasn’t talked about how we’re going to service all the new estates, particularly the outlying ones.

“There needs to be a whole-of-government approach. While this is a 30-year strategy, there seems to be very little strategy for bringing on land in the right locations, within the timeframes that are going to alleviate the apparent boom we’re about to embark on. It takes a lot of time for land to come on.”




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