Policy and Advocacy Update

National campaigns

Support during the national bushfire crisis

The catastrophic bushfires across our nation is a crisis of unprecedented proportions. The Institute would like to thank those dedicated volunteers and emergency services who have been working tirelessly over the past weeks and continue to battle these fires daily and give support to those in need.

In recognition of the scale and severity of these unprecedented events, we’ve launched a dedicated page on our website, focusing on our ongoing response to the bushfire crisis. This features the immediate support we’re providing, together with subsequent relief projects and volunteering initiatives we’ll be developing in 2020 as we work to support the rebuilding of communities.

Australian War Memorial $500 million redevelopment

The Institute has significant and ongoing concerns about the $500 million Australian War Memorial redevelopment project regarding the planned demolition of Anzac Hall and threats to the heritage value of the site.

With support from the ACT Chapter, Ashley Built Heritage has undertaken for the Institute an independent Heritage Review of the redevelopment project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Review has identified that the current redevelopment proposal has significant heritage impacts arising from the bulk, scale and location of the new work.

There has been limited transparency in the decision-making process with respect to Anzac Hall. That’s why we are calling for a public inquiry. The Memorial must be called to account and identity prudent alternatives that would keep Anzac Hall and ensure that any redevelopment respects the solemn nature of the site.

Read the current submission by the Institute the Department of Environment and Heritage here.

Read the Ashley Built Heritage independent review of the redevelopment proposal here.

Building and Construction Regulation – ABC's 7.30: Defects in the construction industry

In October 2019 the ABC’s 7.30 aired a three-part series on defects in the construction industry. The feature highlighted the work of the Institute in calling for all governments to act and urgently improve how the building and construction industry is regulated.

NSW Chapter President Kathlyn Loseby FRAIA outlined during the interview that when it comes to the lives and livelihoods of Australians, more and better regulation is urgently needed. The Institute is advocating for a nationwide requirement for the registration of all building practitioners, in the same way architects are required to be registered. There is also a need to ensure projects across the board are supported by more complete documentation and procurement models that deliver better outcomes for consumers. Read the Institute Media Release.

Surrender of intellectual property to government by architectural consultants

The Institute believes that the Copyright Act 1968 requires amendment to the provisions that compel architects to cede ownership of their Intellectual property to the Crown. National President Prof Helen Lochhead, LFRAIA, working with the National Policy Team and the Western Australian Chapter recently raised this issue with Attorney-General the Hon Christian Porter MP.

When working on government projects, architects are prevented from retaining ownership of their intellectual property that is vested in their design states that the Commonwealth or a State is the owner of the copyright.

This conflicts with normal commercial practice where architects provide a ‘licence’ to use the design developed specifically for a client, but overall ownership (copyright) of the design rests with the architect.

Trends towards the commercialisation of certain government agencies has also seen an increase in government agencies delivering services in competition with the private sector. This potentially gives government agencies competitive advantage simply by virtue of public sector ownership.

The Institute will continue to advocate for amendments to the Copyright Act 1968 to ensure that architects are not compelled to surrender their Intellectual Property to Government agencies when engaged in a consultant capacity. This would remove the unfair competitive advance currently enjoyed by government agencies and ensure that Australia fulfils its obligations in regard to intellectual property as stated in Article 27(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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