Housing and urban focus welcome in new ministry

The Australian Institute of Architects has welcomed the incoming Morrison government’s acknowledgement of the importance of housing and urban policy and infrastructure, as it renewed its call for a focus on building safety, sustainability and effective design.

With the introduction of a dedicated Minister for Housing – the Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar – and the elevation into Cabinet of the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure – Alan Tudge – the Institute said it highlighted the critical nature of these policy areas for the health, wellbeing and quality of life of all Australians.

The Institute has also applauded the creation of an Assistant Ministry for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services, under the leadership of Luke Howarth, in light of Australia’s affordable and social housing challenges.

A focus on sustainability is also to be commended, with the appointment of Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor.

National President, Professor Helen Lochhead, said Australia’s growth challenge should generate benefits for the country if met with planned and well-integrated solutions.

‘We welcome the focus on cities and housing as key areas that with considered policy, design and delivery can create real impact for everyday Australians,’ she said.

‘The importance of planning and the interconnection of infrastructure and housing solutions is well understood by architects, who work across scales and devise solutions to these complex issues in their daily practice.

‘This is the key to creating integrated, effective cities where all people can benefit– if we get it right.’

In the lead-up to the election, the Institute had called for the integration of housing with infrastructure services and the strengthening of the role of the Minister for Cities.

‘We look forward to working with Minister Tudge in his expanded role,’ Prof Lochhead said. ‘We will continue to push for design and sustainability benchmarks and a national architecture policy in urban policy.’

The Institute has worked collaboratively with these Ministers in their previous roles and looks forward to engaging with them and other Ministers again to build effective policies for the Australian future.

The Institute will continue to push for increased safety measures for the building and construction industry, in line with the Shergold Weir Building Confidence report last year, to maintain the integrity of our national standards.

Nationally consistent building standards can also generate strong carbon emissions reductions – the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council estimates development and construction could drive up to 28 per cent of the nation’s 2030 target – and the Institute will continue to support decarbonisation across industries.

Ongoing action on climate change through a plan for net zero carbon buildings by 2040, and fair and open procurement policies are also key priorities for the Institute.

‘As the new government sets it priorities for the term ahead, the Institute will continue its work to create solutions for Australia’s built environment that benefit the communities, while championing our professionals and effective design,’ Professor Lochhead said.