From the CEO

20 October

With federal parliament resuming this week we are closely watching developments in relation to the government’s proposed Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) and higher education reform bills.

The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council’s Direct Action working group, which I chair, has made a number of submissions in relation to the design of the ERF (the proposed mechanism under which entities can bid to be paid for carbon abatement). We understand that the proposed legislation is subject to negotiation with the upper house cross-benchers; but, in the meantime the Institute has been represented on the Department of Environment’s technical working group to develop a methodology to measure carbon abatement achieved by commercial buildings under the ERF. I’d like to extend my thanks and appreciation to Institute member, Jason Veale, who has contributed to the methodology on behalf of the Institute.

Proposed higher education reform measures are also subject to negotiation in the upper house. I am aware that there is widespread concern about what the reforms may mean for the cost of architecture degrees. The Institute has written to the Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, MP, outlining these concerns and seeking further information and an opportunity to discuss this issue with him. I will keep members informed as these matters progress.

I would like to congratulate Past President, Shelley Penn, on being announced one of the Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence for 2014. Shelley Penn has been recognised in the Public Policy category for her work in advocating for the architecture profession and design quality in the public realm.

Shelley has been an outstanding representative for the architecture profession, not only through her involvement with the Institute as a National Councillor and National President, but also through significant commitments around the country during her 20 years of practice. She has been a member of the Architects Registration Board of Victoria, Victoria’s first Associate Government Architect, Chair of the National Capital Authority, Deputy Chair of the Heritage Council of Victoria and Principal of her own small practice for 21 years, to name just a few of her accomplishments.

The Women of Influence Awards celebrate women from a variety of sectors across Australia. Entrants were assessed by a panel of esteemed judges and have been recognised based on their outstanding ability to demonstrate vision, leadership, innovation and action in and beyond their fields.

All 100 winners will be celebrated at a gala event on Wednesday 22 October in Sydney where the ten category winners and overall winner for the year will be announced.

Finally, I’d like to highlight two fantastic events that are taking place in Darwin next month. First, the National Architecture Awards presentation takes place on 6 Nov. Come and celebrate the work of Australian architects – and have a great time in the process!

Following the awards is a truly unique conference. AusIndoArch – Tropfix, which runs from 7-8 Nov. For anyone designing for the tropics, AusIndoArch is an opportunity to come together and find solutions to the specific and unique challenges that we face. Themed ‘shaping healthier tropical cities’, this event explores Indonesian and Australian responses to living and designing for the tropics – the similarities and differences in approach.

For those of you not based in the NT who haven’t yet registered, it is a trip worth making, I can assure you.

Kind regards,

David Parken

CEO, Australian Institute of Architects