The Australian Institute of Architects has pledged its full support to the flood recovery efforts and the longer-term challenge of building resilience against the worsening impacts of climate change.
As the transition from immediate response to recovery starts to progress, the Institute is engaging with governments, local authorities, members and communities on how to most effectively provide help.
National President, Tony Giannone, said the Institute stood in solidarity with members and communities so grievously affected by the floods.
“We acknowledge the pain, anxiety and trauma the people in flood-ravaged communities are going through right now,” Mr Giannone said.
“Those impacted include many of our own members and we are listening to their experiences and feedback on priorities for assistance going forward.
“There are numerous short and longer-term issues that have already been identified. Most importantly we need to build resilience into the recovery so as to help guard against this suffering being repeated in the future.
“The devastation to businesses and housing compounds the pandemic’s impacts and a long-standing and worsening crisis in social and affordable housing supply that the Institute has been advocating on as a priority for many years.”
Primary challenges the Institute is examining include:
- Ensuring clearer and more timely communication between all levels of government and key sectors of the building and construction industry on how to best support and coordinate efforts.
- Ways to more quickly and effectively mobilise the professional workforce, including architects, engineers, building surveyors, project managers and technical trades (electricians and plumbers).
- National mutual recognition of licencing and qualifications is an essential part of an effective response and rebuilding effort.
- Addressing blockages in supply chains already under strain from the COVID-19 pandemic, strategic tensions and excess demand from economic stimulus measures.
- Improved planning for the future including: clearer standards and codes to protect consumers and a set of controls for flood plains aimed at building back better and more resilient.
In addition, work must progress to implement all recommendations arising from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.
Mr Giannone pointed to a recently released research report identifying a million homes nationwide that will be “at high risk of devastating riverine flooding by 2030 without investment in adaptation and mitigation” as further evidence of the scale of the challenge confronting the community.
“The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released earlier this month warned of “an atlas of human suffering” from the impact climate change is already having on people and the planet,” Mr Giannone said.
“We are already experiencing this devastation first-hand, from the Black summer bushfires to the floods that have now ravaged the east coast.
“Now is the time to reset policies and approaches to housing supply to ensure that in delivering what residents need we are not doing so at the cost of lives and livelihoods in the future.”