2023 went off with a bang with early meetings with the Northern Territory (NT) government and many advocacy directions. We have a good relationship with Ministers and government departments as we have a clear direction of what is happening in the NT and on what good policy is and have been commended directly for the leadership we have in the industry. 

We have worked closely with the Northern Territory Government which has cumulated in the change to the Architects Act. The Act changes are the introduction of compulsory CPD, mandatory PI insurance and the introduction of a code of conduct for Architects. Changes to the Act now bring us in line with the other states and territories around Australia for mutual recognition. This is a big win for the Chapter as we first started advocating for reform in 2018. We have also lobbied for these changes to be included in the reforms at the Building Advisory Council (BAC) as part of the implementation of the Shergold.P Weir.B, 2018 recommendations. This year we also supported the implementation of Section J 2019 and Liveable housing reforms. The was some pushback from other organisations however we lobbied hard to ensure these passed.

Each year we have regular catchups with the department team for DIPL which allows us to raise issues and concerns as well as to discuss what works. This year a panel was introduced as part of these reforms. We will continue to address issues as raised by members so feel free to let me know if you have any concerns. Another key policy we worked on was the draft Home Design Guide or the Top End with input into the diagrams and wording to finalise the work we have done over the last couple of years.

In February and March, Charles Darwin University (CDU) underwent a review of the Undergraduate, Master’s, and PhD programs in the NT. The postgraduate program would focus on arid, sub-tropical and tropical design as well as climate change, disaster design and First Nations. Although the review recommended the implementation of the course this is currently on hold but only because the University is working on internal issues. The Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman told us it is not ‘off the table’ there are just things to work through. We are hoping that we can progress this further in 2024.

At the start of March, we hosted a VIP exclusive dinner with the Minister for Planning Eva Lawler MLA. The Minister gives us a rundown of future directions and upcoming projects. This is well received by members as she is open to discussion and questions. Minister Lawler was the Minister for Infrastructure, Lands and Planning as well as the Minister for Education. Minister Lawler supports the work we are doing at CDU about expanding the program and the reintroduction of drafting. Recently we saw a change of Ministerial portfolios with Minister Joel Bowden now as the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Minister Selena Uibo Remote Housing and Homelands, Minister Kate Worden Environment, Climate Change and Water Security, Minister Ngaree Ah Kit Urban Housing with Minister Chansey Paech retaining the Attorney- General portfolio. I also sit on the Housing Alliance which reports directly to the Chief Minister. In March we also hosted the Emerging Architect winner Daniel Moore who is also now working for the Institute.

In May we hosted our Inaugural lecture series with a speaker from New Zealand Michael O’Sullivan from Bull O’Sullivan Architecture who delivered the Futuna Lecture. It was an interesting lecture with some similarities to some of the challenges we see here in the NT. We look forward to expanding this series into the future.

This year our award jury was Chaired by Esther Chew RAIA from Peddle Thorp Architect Qld, the local architect Andrea Rice RAIA Andrea Rice Architects and the lay juror Martina Matzner Horticultural consultant, AICD, Agrifutures, Rural Woman on the Year 2016. It was a very multi-cultural jury with Esther’s background as a Chinese Malaysian and Martina from Germany. Jury visits happened in April this year ending with the presentations on the 19th. The awards this year were held at the Chung Wah Society on the 24th June. We were wined and dined with us having internationally recognised chef’s Danny Yuem and Jimmy Shu giving us the feast of our lives. It was a fantastic venue with the Lion dance being front and centre. We congratulate all the entries and recognize the winning project being the Katherine Sportsground Pavilion by Hames Sharley. Plan are well underway for the 2024 awards which are in Katherine next year 1st June which is also combined with an Indigenous Housing Design Symposium on the 30th May and site visits on the 31st. Put these dates in your diary now!

In July we had our annual quiz night between Engineers, Planners and Architects. It did not go well. The planner won again. In 2024 we need to take them down and win. Game on!  Combined we managed to raise over $1200.00 for PAWS Darwin.

Section J implementation was a key deliverable this year and we hosted a half day workshop with Oliver Grimaldi and Homeria Aryanpad who were able to bring their experience in the implementation of Section J. We will be offering more CPD in this area next year.

Kerstin Thompson was the Gold Medal winner this year which recognises service by architects who have designed or executed buildings of high merit, produced work of great distinction resulting in the advancement of architecture, or endowed the profession of architecture in a distinguished manner.

We did our annual stakeholder’s trip to Alice Springs and it was great to catch up with local members and visited CDU and Alice Springs Town Council.  It is good to be able to see what work our members are doing in Central Australia.

EmAGN committee continue to be actively engaged with our emerging members and members in general with hosting Regisfrustration events throughout the year, engaging with Chair of the Registration Board, Sarah Williamson and previous Chair of EmAGN Bec Kerr, along with key members of the Institute.  The team hosted regular Beers and Peers and hosted Bushtucker Tour at Lee Point with Leslie Gordon from Larrakia Country which included a smoking ceremony and bush tucker lunch.  The final for the EmAGN and SONA team will be end of year event at the Darwin Ski Club on Friday 15th.  Maiya McKenna and Marc Pilla led the EmAGN committee in 2023 as co-chairs.

SONA held the annual SuperStudio and also supported the EmAGN team with their events.

As previously mentioned, the change to the Architects Act was passed in Parliament in October. This means we are working out a CPD plan for next year. Please send us an email on a topic you would like delivered or developed. We look forward to your feedback.

As you may be aware Chief Minister Natasha Fyles has set up a Housing Alliance as we try and address how we are going to increase supply in urban areas. This is critical as the latest research says we need an additional 12,000 homes. This has a flow-on effect which we currently see with critical staff shortages in all areas.

Our final event for the year was Baubles and Banter at the Hilton. It was sold out which was fantastic. Now we are looking for a creative name for 2024. We will continue to work with our industry partners to bring this networking opportunity across the built environment. Participating partners are: Australian Institute of Architects AIA, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects AILA, Australian Institute of Project Management AIPM, The Australian Water Association, Consult Australia, Design Institute of Australia DIA, Engineers Australia EA, NAWIC, Planning Institute of Australia PIA, UDIA. Baubles and Banter photos

We would also like to thank our partners we have worked with again this year. Without your ongoing support we can not deliver the services we do. A big thanks.

Local PartnersNational Partners
·         Alspec·         Alspec
·         Beacon Lighting·         Architecture Media (AA)
·         BlueScope·         Bluescope/Colorbond
·         Bondor Metcno·         Brickworks
·         Colorbond·         Fielders Dulux
·         Engineers Australia·         Lysaght
·         Gerflor·         Planned cover
·         Hilton Hotel·         Smeg
·         J M Interiors·         Taubmans
·         NAWIC 
·         Northern Territory Government 
·         PowerConcepts Electrical and Fire 
·         QS Services 
·         Rossi Architects 
·         Street Furniture Australia 
·         Tarkett Australia 
·         Winya 


Finally, we would like to wish everyone a happy Christmas and new year and we look forward to catching up again next year.

Kind regards

Raquel and Karen

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