It’s a great honour to have been elected your President. I am energised but also humbled by this appointment. I recognise that Joe Agius has been extraordinarily effective in this role. He’s a hard act to follow – but I promise you I will give it my best shot.
My three big priorities during my term as President are:
My advocacy for you will be within the NSW Chapter & its committees, but also at National Council. I aim to use traditional and social media to communicate to the wider public, government & business groups the value of using an architect and investing in architecture.
I am passionate about supporting the profession to embrace equitable workplaces. I am proud that my first action as incoming President was to help launch the Institute’s NSW Champions for Change program with the Gender Equity Taskforce, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, Arup CEO Peter Bailey and Parlour’sDr Naomi Stead and Justine Clark on 18 March.
Together we are stronger. With greater numbers we have greater power to effect change.
I want you to feel your membership is of great value to you, whether that is through a more cost-effective membership, better information through Chapter Council and its committees, or one of the service arms of the profession like Acumen.
It’s certainly my strong view that the greater the effort you put into the work of the Institute, the more you will get out of your membership.
This is one of our most effective programs, providing the opportunity for career starters to benefit from the guidance of an experienced member of the profession. But there is a huge imbalance between the numbers of mentors and mentees (and the number keeps growing!). We would like more experienced members to offer their services as mentors for this program. You do not have to be a registered architect – check the Institute website for eligibility details.
Chapter Council on the road
The former NSW Government’s series of regional cabinet meetings was a good exercise in literally taking government to the people.
I want to do the same for the Institute. We will be holding a number of our Chapter Council meetings away from Tusculum during the next two years, commencing with a visit to Sydney’s inner west on 5 May.
Now that the election is behind us we need to get on with the job of lobbying and working with the new government on several fronts:
Public sector procurement
The procurement of building design and construction is inconsistent between agencies and unfairly loads the risk on to private consultants, including architects. The Institute is committed to fixing this problem in collaboration with the Association of Consulting Architects and Consult Australia.
There are many elements of the failed draft legislation that could be introduced into the current system, particularly community involvement in strategic planning at the local level. The Institute will continue to advocate for design as a fundamental part of the planning process.
We are determined to work constructively with the Department of Planning & Environment to make sure the new SEPP and the accompanying Apartment Design Guide are the effective tools they need to be to improve the design quality of our built environment.
Greater Sydney Commission
It was good to see the Labor Party committed to setting up this organisation during the election campaign. Now it has bi-partisan support the new government needs to get on with the job of establishing the Commission. The Institute provided advice last year on how the Commission should operate and is keen to help make it a reality.
Farewell to Roslyn Irons
The quality of the Chapter Manager is crucial to the effectiveness of the President, the Chapter Council, the committees and to the many and varied activities organised by Chapter staff. We have been fortunate that Roslyn Irons has been exemplary in the way she has developed outreach opportunities for the Chapter and has re-organised the office structure to enable it to carry out its work in partnership with members.
After seven and a half years with the NSW Chapter Roslyn has been given the opportunity to return to the health services industry as State Manager of the NSW & ACT faculty of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. We are very sorry she is leaving us, but grateful for all she has achieved for the Institute in her time with us – and we wish her well in her new role.