National bushfire response update

The Institute has been overwhelmed by the generosity and positive reaction to our communications earlier this week, for which we thank everyone.

As we know there are over 60 fires still burning across our wide brown land.  We are preparing our response in conjunction with other agencies to ensure our readiness when we are called for action.

We believe that the response will include regional response teams and community master planning groups, information is emerging day by day on processes moving forward.

We continue to progress the response actions we outlined in these communications, including making practice notes available on our website, engaging with government at all levels and coordinating the generous offers of support through Architects Assist, created by architectural graduate Jiri Lev which has now consolidated under the Australian Institute of Architects banner. We are excited to be working with Jiri on this important initiative.

New CPD programs are being developed and will be available shortly addressing community engagement methodologies and also working with and understanding trauma. Information on these programs will be available in the coming weeks.

We were approached by ABC Radio and our efforts as a profession coming together to support the communities we are all so proud to serve were broadcast nationally on their PM radio program yesterday.

 

We will continue to make information available and engage with the media where appropriate in the interest of communicating with those who need our help.

With fire conditions worsening again today, it remains important to recognise that the focus for the foreseeable future is on supporting the efforts of those on the frontline, evacuating those in harm’s way, stabilising affected areas and planning for the next surge of high-risk conditions.

The architectural profession’s response is to act now in some ways while also preparing for the longer-term needs of those affected down the track.

Acting now means:

  • registering your interest in being involved – which may be in any number of ways (assisting with an assessment of affected areas and auditing future re-building needs, working with local government and related authorities, working on advisory teams, eventually providing design services, be they pro bono or discounted services, etc).
    • At the current time what we need from members is any expressions of interest in order to firm up a centrally coordinated offer to the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and the state, territory and local governments they are already liaising with.
  • Considering donations to and/or volunteering resources to any of the charities already listed on our website. Sadly, as you may have seen, incidences of people using the bushfires as an opportunity to conduct sophisticated scams that seek to exploit people’s generosity are on the rise so we also urge you to exercise caution.

Next steps:

  • Preparing for the Institute’s Architects Donate week planned for the week commencing Monday 3 February where we will provide the facility for all interested members to donate a days pay to the Foundation arm of the Institute – 100% of funds raised will be used in post-fire design and related crisis support efforts throughout the coming months, or to any other charity you choose.
  • Mustering your staff to volunteer in affected regions in response to the identified needs of those in affected local and regional centres.
  • Providing design/building services as determined by the relevant authorities ‘on the ground’ which in itself will be a lengthy process.

Again – we thank all members for their positive feedback so far and look forward to working with you and the wider community on a longer-term solution extending from the current, immediate crisis before us.

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