The Institute is heavily involved in advocating for architecture and the built environment.  Over the first quartile of this year in addition to regular meetings with government and industry groups including the OVGA, ARBV, PIA, AILA, VBA’s State Building Surveyor and the VBA’s Design Standards Working Group (setting minimum documentation standards), the Institute has held meetings with the following state government political and departmental leaders:


  • The Hon. Sonya Kilkenny, Minister for Planning and Suburbs: the Institute met with the Minister (together with the Victorian Government Architect and the Executive Director of Building and Planning at Department of Transport and Planning) last Thursday and talked across a broad range of issues with particular focus on the Framework for Reform’s rewriting of the Building Act, registration of professionals, next year’s sunsetting of the Architects Regulations 2015, and the process of appointing new members to a nine member ARBV board which will have eight positions available for nomination by mid-year.
  • Housing Statement Implementation Deputy Secretary Jeroen Weimar. The meeting was an engaging exchange of ideas and was a great opportunity to understand government perspectives as well as to present ideas the Institute has been discussing. The Institute has established a Housing Delivery Working Group, led by Chapter Councillor Sarah Buckeridge, with the intent of preparing a policy paper for distribution to the government around middle of the year.
  • Rescode Review: in accordance with the government’s Housing Statement, government run workshops are currently exploring how to codify aspects of Recode regulations. This is a critical review for all those members involved in single or multi-residential projects.  Chapter Councillor Sarah Bryant is leading our representation on the workshops and we will advise as further direction on this issue becomes available. Interested members are welcome to let Chapter staff know should they like to support this work.
  • Dan Baird, Executive Director Corporate Development of the University of Melbourne. The Institute has met twice with the Executive Director to question and express concern at the University’s recently announced Estate Plan which includes demolition of significant twentieth century buildings across the University’s Parkville campus including the removal of the entire Grattan Street frontage (except two nineteenth century buildings).  The Institute’s concern is that such demolition generates a loss of embodied, carbon, materials and energy as well as destruction of heritage, cultural memory and loss of significant examples of twentieth century tertiary architecture.  This issue is being actively considered by the Institute’s Sustainability and Heritage Committees.
  • Hannah Matthews, Senior Manager of Industry Regulation and Occupational Licensing Regulation Policy Unit. Met to discuss and further explain the submission the Institute made on the government’s review of the Domestic Buildings Contracts Act
  • Anna Cronin, CEO and now Commissioner of the Victorian Building Authority recently met with Chapter Council to explain how the VBA is being renewed to address shortcomings and to become a better regulator of the construction industry, as detailed in the VBA’s Regulatory Policy Statement. Chapter Council was also afforded an opportunity to question aspects of the statement and to provide empirically based commentary on other issues within industry which could be addressed by the VBA.


This Tuesday at 12 midday, the Honourable Lily d’Ambrosio Minister for Climate Action, Energy & Resources and the State Electricity Commission will be our guest speaker in our monthly ESD Lean-in webinar on the government’s Electrification policy explaining the benefits from a climate perspective as well as the opportunities and benefits for our clients in changing over to or selecting electrical powered appliances and equipment.  Katie Brown, Executive Director of Electrification, Efficiency and Safety will then follow up with a 30 minute question and answer session.  Love to see as many members as possible attend to hear about this fundamentally important policy and to engage through questioning its detail and potentially proposing ideas for government consideration.


Next week, together with the Planning Institute of Australia, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, and the Urban Design Forum, the Institute will host a roundtable discussion on the government’s proposed major planning strategy called ‘Plan Victoria’ which supersedes Plan Melbourne.   The collaborative roundtable’s intent is to produce a paper that can be presented to Government, expressing the views of built environment professionals on how planning regulations best frame a growing Victoria. The Institute will be represented by Gold Medallist Kirsten Thompson, James Legg and Jefa Greenaway as well as State Manager, Daniel Moore and myself.


The Institute’s normal committee meetings and forums continue in this context as of course does the Victorian Chapter’s National Awards programme, where a shortlist of entries to be visited will soon be declared.  I encourage all members to be involved in a very active Chapter and look forward to seeing you at Tuesday’s ESD lean-in with Minister d’Ambrosio.


David Wagner FRAIA
President of the Victorian Chapter

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