Pursuing reform, elevating design: Architects outline post-election priorities

Continued reform of building regulation and embedding good design in government policies for managing the growth of Australia’s cities and towns are among the key priorities in the built environment as the federal parliament reconstitutes following this weekend’s election.

Congratulating the Prime Minister on his electoral success, the Australian Institute of Architects said now was the time to look at how best to value add to the Government’s agenda as it is returned.

National President, Professor Helen Lochhead, said Australia faced complex growth, economic and environmental challenges so the Institute is focused on putting forward solutions that enable the built environment to deliver the best outcomes for the Australian people.

‘The Morrison Government’s policy platform explicitly addresses the need to better manage the country’s growth and ensure that infrastructure and key services, such as housing, can keep up,’ Professor Lochhead said.

‘They acknowledge the need for improved planning and the critical importance of collaboration across all levels of government.

‘As professionals in the built environment, architects have great capacity to assist in transforming these challenges into opportunities.

‘Whether it’s in the continued roll out of City Deals, or the introduction of their new national population and planning framework, we see a role for architects to contribute their expertise.

‘Embedding good design in critical policies and investments will maximise the benefits returned to Australian communities, whether in our cities or our regions, through the quality and performance of their buildings and urban environments.

‘Housing affordability has been a key priority area for the Institute and we’ve welcomed not only the additional support for first home buyers, but also for more research and data to support the right housing policies and levers.’

Professor Lochhead said reform of building regulation must also continue in a timely way, prioritising safety and sustainability.

‘The Institute has been a strong voice calling for increased national building safety measures to protect people in their workplaces and homes,’ she said.

‘Progressing implementation of the Shergold-Weir Building Confidence report recommendations must be an urgent priority.’

The Institute will also continue to urge more action on urban planning with transport and design; inclusive and accessible housing; addressing climate change including a national plan for net zero carbon buildings by 2040; the appointment of an Australian Government Architect and a National Architecture Policy; and fair and open government procurement that recognises the strong expertise and skill of Australian architects.

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