Further to my message a fortnight ago I can report that the Institute has been working hard to address and seek amendment to the ‘Building, Planning and Heritage Legislation Amendment (Administration and Other Matters) Bill 2022’ currently before Parliament which seeks to remove the requirement for Architects to be on the board (currently five out of ten members are Architects) and to alter the appointment of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson to become Minister appointees rather than the current arrangement of them being elected by the Board. The government has described these changes as introducing a modern, skills-based board, but inconceivably the skills base is not to mandate the inclusion of Architects and leadership is to be by political appointment. In the context of the ARBV’s role of determining qualifications and experience required for architectural registration, examining architectural candidates, accrediting tertiary courses of education in architecture, and maintaining architectural registration amongst other tasks, such a move cannot be considered a positive contribution to the regulation of the profession to provide an appropriate level of consumer protection of architectural services within Victoria.
The Bill has been before the Legislative Assembly and was passed in its third reading on 4th August and is now in its second reading in the Legislative Council and was to be voted on next week, although this has today been delayed by a week or two due to parliamentary programming constraints. The passing of the legislation in the lower house was not surprising as the government has a significant majority of members. However, this is not the case in the upper house where there are sixteen government MLCs, ten opposition MLCs, and a cross-bench of fourteen.
After the Institute’s earlier approaching of the authors of the Bill, namely the Minister of Planning who is responsible for introducing and guiding the legislation through Parliament, and DWELP, who were responsible for drafting the Bill, to seek their modification of the legislation, the Institute has now joined with the Association of Consulting Architects to lobby the Legislative Council to amend the legislation in the upper house. With so many different parties in the Legislative Council, success is far from assured, and so we again ask all those members who have not yet approached their elected members of the Legislative Council to do so, seeking common sense to intervene in the Bill before it is passed by the upper house and becomes law. Note that each electoral region has five members or MLCs that represent each voter. This is our last opportunity to raise the profile of this issue before the impending vote. Refer to the Institute’s web page for further information and a template letter.
Thanks for the feedback and all the encouragement we have received from members who have approached their elected members. A properly composed and equipped ARBV is in the interests of both the profession and the wider community it serves, so please exercise your democratic right to influence your elected decision-makers charged with reviewing and deciding upon this Bill.
David Wagner FRAIA