Victorian Chapter Policy and Advocacy Update

The latest policy and advocacy update covering the Roadmap for Victoria’s Planning System, our Federal pre-budget submission and more.


The Victorian Chapter has been invited by Planning Minister, The Hon. Richard Wynne and DELWP to improve the environmental performance and resilience of buildings in response to urban growth and a changing climate. Key areas that will be addressed include:

  • Energy,
  • Water,
  • Waste and recycling,
  • Transport,
  • Landscaping and biodiversity,
  • Urban heat and
  • Air and noise pollution.

The Victoria Chapter will be making a submission on the proposed changes to Victoria’s planning framework that enable the Roadmap to be delivered and will be represented by a stakeholder reference group that will be assisting the government through to September 2021.


A 2021 Federal Pre-Budget Submission has been lodged with the Australian Government Treasury. The pre-budget submission contains 30 recommendations and is built around eight key themes of:

  • Managing change and fostering thriving cities and regions,
  • Ensuring good design,
  • Procurement of architectural services,
  • Climate change and community resilience,
  • Housing a diverse and inclusive community,
  • Improving building quality through re-regulation,
  • Strengthening National Heritage and
  • COVID-19 Adaptation and Economic Recovery.

The pre-budget submission will be available on the website for viewing and downloading this week.


The Victorian Chapter has lodged a 24 page document outlining its priority areas for actions the Institute wants to see the Victorian Government announce in the 2021 State Budgets. This submission re-establishes the Victorian Chapter’s remit to set out of its priorities for direct outlays or other funded measures announced in state budgets such as regulation and policy reviews on an annual basis.

The submission makes recommendation around the following six themes:

  • National Registration Framework (for Building Practitioners). A recommendation has been made specifying the settings for the distinction between Architects and other registration categories for designers in terms of permitted design work as well as setting out the conditions for registration of Project Managers, should the Victorian Government adopt the National Registration Framework.
  • Quality Procurement of Consultants – adopting the Institute’s EOI and RFT Guidelines. A recommendation has been made with respect to more broadly implemented use of the Guidelines by the Victorian Government in its procurement and funding agreements with third parties as well as promoting its use to local government authorities in Victoria (a similar recommendation has also been made in our Federal pre-budget submission).
  • A better framework for contracts to support novation practice. The Institute has called for the Victorian Government to include investigation of options for coordinating and standardising contracts used in the upcoming Victorian Building System Review Framework for Reform consultation phase.
  • A comprehensive electronic building manual for owners of new and upgraded buildings. We have recommended to the Victorian government that an investigation and research project about digital documentation is conducted to develop options for a digitised building manual for a range of buildings and provide digital access to latest drawing sets throughout construction stages to confirm compliance by relevant practitioners such as Building Surveyors.
  • Addressing Residual Risk and Insurance. Two recommendations have been made to undertake consultation and research in the Victorian Design and Construction sectors to strengthen the evidence base around affordability and coverage of insurances undertake a review of its government procurement of Architectural services to ensure that Architecture practices at different scale are all confident to engage in government work.
  • Independent oversight – Clerk of Works. A recommendation has been made that, as part of the Victorian Government Building System Review and Reforms,  options are raised for ensuring that projects of particular scale, type or complexity have an independent on-site arbiter and overseer of the works contracted directly to the client – namely a Clerk of Works.

Read the Victorian pre-budget submission here


Just prior to Christmas, the Victorian Chapter made its submission to submission to the City of Melbourne on Amendment c387’s  permanent implementation of the recommendations of the Hoddle Grid Heritage Review. In its submission the Institute has commended the City of Melbourne on carrying  out an immensely complex once in a generation undertaking of the Hoddle Grid Heritage Review as a critical process that the Institute acknowledges and supports in order to retain and protect, for future generations, our significant built heritage. Our submission has recommended potential areas of focus and possible next steps that are important in evaluating the best outcomes for our future city and our ongoing sustainability in all its permutations given that it is desirable to maintain the architectural and social heritage of the city, whilst equally allowing for new innovative work that will create a better city for tomorrow.

Our submission has pointed out the need to test underpinning assumptions that the destruction of all buildings is a poor sustainable outcome, due to the embodied energy given that detailed environmental studies by independent groups have shown this may be otherwise. We have also proposed the consideration of strategies to provide rent relief, building maintenance support, and other incentives to assist heritage buildings to be properly maintained to encourage their meaningful contribution back to the city.


The Institute and Victorian Chapter has congratulated Victorian Government Architect, Jill Garner AM LFRAIA for her appointment as a Member in the General Division (AM) in this year’s Australia Day Honours List. This is an honour that is duly deserved. We applaud Ms. Garner’s distinguished service to the profession of architecture and significant contribution to the realm of public architecture and urban design.


On 1 February, in a media release by Planning Minister the Hon. Richard Wynne, the Victorian Government announced that its bans on the use of combustible cladding on new multi-storey buildings have come into effect. The announced bans include a prohibition on flammable aluminium composite panels and rendered expanded polystyrene as external wall cladding on all future multi-storey developments including apartment buildings, and other residential buildings such as hotels and aged care facilities with two or more storeys. The ban also applies to the use of these products on office buildings, shopping centres or other retail premises, warehouses, factories and car parks with three or more storeys.

The Victorian Building Authority will enforce the cladding ban, with penalties of up to $400,000 for significant breaches. More information about the specific cladding products and technical information can be found here.