The Australian Institute of Architects Victoria has called for First Nations approaches to Designing with Country to inform the procurement, planning, design and delivery of built environment projects across the state.
The Institute’s Victorian Chapter President, David Wagner FRAIA said the consideration of impacts on Country should be at the heart of the development of the built environment in Victoria.
Respecting Country forms part of the 2021 National Standard of Competency for Architects. At a minimum it requires the protection of existing cultural materials and ensuring projects do no further harm to culture and the environment.
“At its best, this approach to design celebrates Country through a project”, Mr Wagner said.
Co-chair of the Institute’s First Nations Advisory Working Group, Sarah Lynn Rees, said: “While we acknowledge it is not always required nor possible for all built environment projects to engage with First Nations communities and Knowledge Holders, we must ensure that the best efforts are made to improve the health and wellbeing of Country on every project.”
“It is imperative that the Victorian Government leads on good practice in its own procurement of buildings and infrastructure.”
The Institute has pointed to the New South Wales draft Connecting with Country and the 2021 National Standard of Competency for Architects as leading examples and recommended the development of a framework and guidelines in Victoria.
Further, the Institute has called for an improved system of heritage protection in the state to ensure the preservation of cultural heritage.
A tax incentive scheme for private sector owners of heritage properties, as operated in California, Canada and the European Union, could incentivise protection.
The Institute has also called for an additional $50 million in funding for Heritage Victoria to ensure places of significance are efficiently assessed and listed, and to subsidise owners through the Living Heritage Grants program.
The Institute has released a comprehensive pre-election policy.
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