The Queensland Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects is urgently calling upon both the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Liberal National Party (LNP), if elected, to increase the resources and authority of The Office of the Queensland Government Architect.
The Office oversees the implementation of good design across the state. According to Michael Lavery, President of the Australian Institute of Architects’ Queensland Chapter, design should be the cornerstone of any COVID-19 economic recovery plan. “If Queensland is to thrive in the wake of COVID-19, design must be prioritised,” Michael says.
Michael adds that Queenslanders already have design to thank for the sophisticated state it has become in recent years. “Long gone are the misconceptions that design is an optional, and sometimes costly, added extra,” Michael explains. “The opposite is true.
“Design is essential for the success of any economic recovery program,” he explains. “It’s the single most powerful tool we can rely upon to ensure we remain economically competitive, culturally robust and environmentally responsive.”
Queensland’s champion of good design — at risk
The Government Architect’s Office cannot continue to deliver for Queenslanders whilst it remains so desperately under resourced. A review of other states’ offices illustrates the magnitude of Queensland’s compromised staffing levels.
Despite its current challenges, prioritising good design — that benefits all Queenslanders, state wide — remains the Office’s top priority.
According to Michael, failure to boost resources will significantly compromise both the lifestyles and livelihoods of Queenslanders.
“Design is the process that guarantees we can deliver safe, efficient and cost-effective transport, schools, business hubs, medical facilities and tourist centres,” Michael says. “As an architect, I’ve witnessed how design fast tracks economies, unites communities and protects our natural landscapes and wildlife — without it, all Queenslanders will be worse off.
“The impact of the Office cannot be understated,” he says. “Operating with what I consider to be a ‘skeleton staff’ is, essentially, short changing the people of Queensland.”
Ensuring a better economic future for all Queenslanders
The success of every Queensland city and regional town depends upon the best architecture, urban design, master planning, landscape architecture and placemaking. All of these disciplines use the process of design to create and innovate.
“Design is the way we decide how we want things to be. Good design requires research, collaboration and critical thinking. Done well, the design process creates outcomes that change existing situations into preferred ones.” Sunshine Coast Design 2020, Sunshine Coast Council, page 29