It is beautiful to see fresh snow on kunanyi and as we gaze up from the harbour, it reminds us of how unique our capital city is. No doubt there have been similar falls in the north. These weather patterns accentuate our landscape and remind us of our locale, on the southern edge.
Fresh weather promotes fresh thinking and there has certainly been a lot of it over the last weeks, with the Tasmanian Chapter being included in numerous stakeholder consulting round tables with both government and local government. This has kept the chapter office extremely busy with submissions and I would like to thank the chapter staff: Chapter Executive Director, Jennifer, along with Fiona and Katie for their consistent, hard effort in meeting what are often barely workable deadlines.
I also wish to thank all the members who give their valuable time to committees and working groups to review the significant amount of material that is coming from government at present.
It is through their hard work, time and professional contributions that our profession continues to make good headway with many of the issues that our members raise, particularly with regard to government procurement and the awareness of why architecture is important in Tasmania’s built environment.
Being now around six months into the presidency, I am settling into the role.
The following is a quick summary of some of the key advocacy we have been doing as a chapter and other events that as president I have had involvement.
- The Awards weekend at Spring Bay Mill was brilliantly run by the awards team and the chapter office. The ‘wild and Woolley’ theme proved on-message with very cold conditions, strong westerly winds and at times, belting rain! A huge thank you must go to the Awards Task Force who work incredibly hard all year to pull together the event. Everyone who attended enjoyed themselves and the location was superb, with the “glamping” accommodation a highlight.
- The Awards were attended by the Hon. Guy Barnett MP (Minister for Housing), the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Rebecca White MP, and the Hon. Mike Gaffney MLC, Member for Mersey.
- The Awards received significant publicity in the media and gained mention in Tasmanian Parliament by the Attorney-General, the Hon. Elise Archer MP, the Hon. Guy Barnett MP, and the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Rebecca White (ambassador for the Tasmania Chapter).
- I did an ABC Radio interview on Sunday 19 June on Statewide Mornings and discussed the Awards and the positives brought by good design.
- On Tuesday 21 June I had the monthly National Presidents Zoom meeting and I raised the issue with all states of the perennial issue of problematic and uninsurable government contract terms and EOI/RFT processes. The topic was discussed at length and as an outcome, the national policy manager elected to undertake a national survey, state-by-state of all the issues relating to this and then compile solid evidence that might be taken to the Institute’s legal advisors. This is a very important issue so I was glad to have been able to discuss this with my national colleagues (who all have the same challenges in their states) and mobilise ongoing action.
- On Saturday 25 June I took the EmAGN team on a tour of our Hargrave House on Mt Nelson.
- On Monday 27 June we met with Mark Dewsbury (UTAS) and discussed the impending 7-star initiative for the NCC, its pitfalls and challenges for Tasmanian design and climatic specifics. This was a hugely beneficial discussion.
- On Wednesday 29 June, Jennifer, Fiona, Mark Dewsbury and I met with the Attorney-General, the Hon. Elise Archer MP, to discuss the 7-star NCC matter and it was clear that the Attorney-General understood the issues and challenges for Tasmanian in this regard and we agreed to (at this stage) recommend that Tasmanian remain at 6-stars for the time being, with higher sustainability to 7-stars to be aspirational if required. The reasons for this are varied and can be quite detailed but should anyone wish to get in touch I am happy to discuss this with them.
- On Tuesday 12 July I sat on the Board of Architects of Tasmania’s monthly meeting, canvassing many issues, including the Code of Practice.
- On Thursday 21 July I attended a briefing with the City of Hobart regarding their draft Central Hobart Precincts plan and was able to put forward key points for consideration around connection of the CBD to Sullivans Cove, among other issues.
- On Tuesday 26 July, Jennifer, Fiona, Will Harkness (Chapter Councillor) and I attended a CBOS briefing regarding the draft Residential Building Protection Bill.
- On Thursday 28 July I attended National Council and provided a comprehensive report to National Council and Board members on the Tasmanian profession, as well as contributing to discussion on all agenda items, many of which are addressing similar or the same challenges that the Tasmanian profession are specifically dealing with.
- On Friday 28 July, the Tasmanian Chapter Councillors met for a round table breakfast with Master Builders Tasmania (MBT) board members, including the MBT President to discuss ways in which the Tasmanian Chapter and the MBT can work together to improve and streamline project procurement, contractural and other issues. It was a very successful event and we hope that this will continue throughout the year on a semi-regular basis.
Along with the above, I met with members, including the Tasmanian SONA representative, Nuri Mohamad regarding the UTAS Super Studio event and other opportunities for connections with the UTAS School of Architecture.
Wishing everyone the very best as we head toward Spring.