From the Chief Executive Officer

 

Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Cunich. Photo by Kelly Chen
 

May 14, 2018
 

Last week, Commonwealth Treasurer, The Honourable Scott Morrison MP handed down his third Federal Budget. It was a mixed bag of initiatives with personal tax cuts, infrastructure and support for older Australians the key features. There were some welcome housing measures including the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, providing $7 billion in housing funding and an additional $620 million for homelessness services over the next five years, as well as over half a billion dollars put towards improving housing outcomes for Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory.

Investment in infrastructure was a big ticket item with a number of initiatives announced ahead of Budget night, including $5 billion for Melbourne Airport Rail Link along with other critical rail works and we hope to see more invested in public transport links across the country in the future.

There were some missed opportunities for a Federal Government Architect, and better sustainability and energy efficiency measures and the Institute will continue to advocate on these important issues.

To assist members in understanding what the 2018-19 Budget means for you, your practices and the built environment our National Policy Advisor, Leanne Hardwicke, has prepared a bespoke budget de-brief which is available here.

Tomorrow (15 May) we will be holding our Annual General Meeting at our Melbourne Office at 41 Exhibition Street and members have the opportunity to vote on a special resolution to amend the Institute’s current Constitution including the full recognition of the International Chapter. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read the Notice for the AGM outlining these changes or our Annual Report, you can view them here. Thank you to those who have submitted proxies and we look forward to seeing members who can attend in person.

Coinciding with the AGM and the handover of Presidency, we have some further changes to our Board. Sarah Richardson, one of our inaugural Independent Directors, will be stepping down after almost two years of service. The Institute has made remarkable progress in recent times towards improving our governance, culture, risk management and performance and Sarah has played an important role in these changes. She has fearlessly challenged the status quo, brought a wide variety of much needed experience and skills and has encouraged us all. On behalf of the Board, Executive and you, our members, I would like to thank Sarah for her dedication and incredible service and counsel to the Institute.

I am pleased to announce former NT Chapter President and Board member, Andrew Broffman has been re-appointed to the Board as an Interim Independent Director. Under our Constitution, we may have one member serve as an Independent Director and Andrew will fulfil this position while we undertake a review of the Board’s current skillsets and identify a new Independent with a skillset that can complement the strategic projects the Institute has underway.

We are only a few weeks out from Conference, and the excitement is building. I’m looking forward to hearing from the impressive line-up of international and local speakers including recently announced speaker Roberto Bannura, a Director at Steven Holl Architects in China. One of the highlights of the conference has always been the opportunity to explore the local architecture and connect with colleagues through the fringe program. This year will be no exception with a full range of talks, tours and parties on offer. See the full schedule here.

And don’t forget the conference provides you with access to both formal and informal CPD opportunities. If you haven’t already registered there is still time to join us for what will be an inspiring few days – register now.

Finally, I will be heading off shortly to attend the opening of Australia’s Exhibition, Repair, at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. This is an important opportunity to promote the incredible work of our members on the global stage and for Australia to be a part of international discussions and solutions to the issues facing communities around the world. I look forward to sharing with you more details of the exhibition by Baracco + Wright with Linda Tegg following the launch on Thursday 24 May.

 

Jennifer Cunich
Chief Executive Officer