Victorian Policy & Advocacy Update

The latest policy and advocacy update from the Victorian Chapter including Stage 4 Lockdown update, survey by PwC for DEWLP and more.

STAGE 4 LOCKDOWN

The Victorian State Government announced on Friday 12 February Victoria’s entry into a “circuit-breaker lockdown” of Stage 4 restrictions, giving effect to a 5-day lockdown that applies across the whole of the state. Late Friday afternoon alerted to important information posted to the Institute’s Twitter account for the Victorian Chapter (@AusINSArch_VIC). Members were informed that only  “building or construction’’ of critical infrastructure, including roads construction is permitted and a link was posted to the list of  permitted activities and work on the Premier’s website. The “Business and industry – essential workers and essential providers list” is now available here.

Victorian Government advice states that:

Critical infrastructure includes:

  • Public infrastructure (including public roads, public transport, hospitals, prisons and utility projects)
  • Work for the purposes of national security and defence
  • Projects previously approved as ‘State critical infrastructure projects’ or ‘Critical and essential infrastructure projects’.
  • Emergency repairs and maintenance can also occur.  Where needed, construction sites across Victoria can carry out work required to make their sites safe and secure, prior to closing the site but this must be done promptly. Critical repairs to any premises are allowed where it is an emergency or they are required for safety reasons.

There are stronger restrictions on construction now than were previously in place. This circuit breaker action is designed to be shorter and sharper with fewer exceptions.

PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE MARKET FOR VICTORIAN BUILDING PRACTITIONERS – SURVEY BY PwC FOR DEWLP

The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) states that it is aware of the challenges facing Victorian building practitioners in obtaining appropriate and affordable professional indemnity (PI) insurance policy. They propose that this may be a result of both changes in the Australian and international markets for PI insurance, as well as a decreased appetite for risk from insurers due to the unexpected impacts of COVID-19 on the Australian building and construction industry.

DELWP have engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to examine changes in the PI insurance market for building practitioners over the past financial year, based on data provided by building practitioners. The purpose of this work is to understand key changes in PI insurance policies (including premiums, excesses and liability limits), the market capacity (insurers entering and exiting the market), and the nature of insurance provided (coverage and exclusions). Last year, the Victorian Chapter participated in their consultation by interview on this project.

This year they are undertaking an industry-wide survey following an initial pilot survey in August 2020. Additionally, the survey seeks to understand the nature and extent of the impacts of COVID-19 on the building and construction industry. Findings may inform potential industry-led actions or policy settings that may seek to mitigate these impacts or assist industry recovery.

PwC will be running this short (10 minute), confidential survey from Mon 15 February 2021 to Fri 26 February 2021. Please note that the Architects Registration Board of Victoria will email registered practitioners in the coming days to inform them that the survey is open. To ensure maximum take up of the survey, the Victorian Chapter has responded to DELWP’s request for support inform members about the survey.

DELWP have sought to assure the Institute and our members that the survey will be conducted by PwC and not by the Department. As such, no personal or identifying information will be collected as part of the survey, and individual responses will not be provided back to the Department, to the VBA or to professional bodies.

You can access the survey from Monday 15 February here.

PLANNING FOR MELBOURNE’S GREEN WEDGE AND AGRICULTURAL LAND CONSULTATION PAPER

The Victorian Chapter Sustainable Architecture Forum has worked with the Institute’s Policy and Advocacy team to formulate a submission to the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. The submission has positioned to minimise increased encroachment of inappropriate land use activities into Melbourne’s Green Wedges while seeking greater certainty and fewer objections if developments meet a specified requirement both for any developments that might occur inside a green wedge or the urban growth boundary. The submission can be found here.

OTHER RECENT SUBMISSIONS

Our 2021 Federal Pre-Budget Submission as lodged with the Australian Government Treasury is available to download here.

Our Victorian Chapter 2021 State Pre- budget submission as follows is available to download here.

Our submission to City of Melbourne Heritage Review is available to download here.

CHAPTER COUNCIL Update

Thank you to our outgoing Chapter Councillors for their outstanding contribution to the Victorian Chapter Council including:

Daniel Moore RAIA, Director of Open Creative Studio, a creative practice that seeks to work on exceptional projects that support the environment and benefit the community. He was also the EmAGN Co-Chair for the Victorian Chapter. In addition to design projects, Daniel also has a keen interest in communications producing podcasts including Hearing Architecture and the New Architects Podcast.

Michael Macleod RAIA, Director of Architecture at Kennedy Nolan. Michael has worked with Kennedy Nolan for over ten years. He has an ongoing interest in the social responsibilities of architects and the contributions they can make to their society and has been involved in volunteer or pro-bono work with organisations such as Architects for Aid, Architecture for Humanity, IFRC and Fitzroy Learning Network.

GOLD MEDAL TOUR 2021 – SAVE THE DATE

Please put a hold in your diary for John Wardle’s AS Hook Address. The AS Hook Address is the final lecture by the Gold Medallist in their home State.

We are determining an appropriate approach to capacity in relation to COVID-19 with the venue. Further details to come, however please put a hold in your diary to celebrate with John this incredible achievement, Thursday 18 March 2021, 6pm – 8pm, TBA.