National Presidents Message - 20 June 2016

As we approach the final weeks of the Federal Election campaign, the announcements from all the parties are now well and truly flowing. Now is a very good time to ask your local candidates their parties’ positions on many issues facing us; for instance the Coalition has recently announced their $100m Smart Cities Plan; as well as the Greens $250m Cycling and Walking Plan. AILA has prepared a detailed response to the Coalition’s Smart Cities Policy, launched earlier this year. We’d love your urgent feedback on the response before we submit it as part of industry consultation. See the link in the enews article below requesting comments by midday Thursday 23 June.

I was very honoured to be listed in a recently announced national ‘Black Book of Green People’, as part of the 202020 Vision Plan, which responds to the desire for better community understanding of what people working in the living infrastructure and green space industries do. 22 people have been identified (which also features AILA’s CEO Shahana McKenzie, and Landscape Architects Sasha Coles, Prof Grant Revell, and Tony Cox) as ‘doers’ who demonstrate leadership, innovation, resourcefulness and a genuine commitment to creating more and better green space across Australia. As you all know, we represent the collective membership (amongst many others in diverse industry) and work to realise the health, productivity and environmental benefits of building lush, green cities. There was a feature in The Australian recently, and you can check out the initiative here.

There are less than 2 months until our official 50th Birthday Party - ingredients for the big cake are being assembled - and we have produced a very special short film on the story of landscape architecture in Australia over the last 50 years, and I am excited to announce a concurrent party and screening of the film simultaneously on August 25th in every state and territory. Make sure you save the date and join the celebrations, reflecting on this amazing profession and the contribution we have collectively made to Australian society.

The 2016 International Festival of Landscape Architecture: Not in My Backyard, early bird closes in 2 weeks, so get in early to save on your tickets as well as taking advantage of cheaper flights and accommodation if required.

Before I close, membership renewals are coming your way. As part of our continual improvement to member services, you can now ‘pay by the month’. Details will be included in your membership renewals.

Finally, I chaired your National Council June teleconference last week, where Council unanimously endorsed the final draft of the proposed new AILA constitution, which will now be released for your final consultation in the coming week. As one of the original members who some 5 years ago became very involved in understanding the then proposed changes, many of which were a necessary part of improving our governance and meeting modern ASIC requirements, it is with great deal of pride and achievement that we finish a very arduous and complex process of engagement and due diligence on AILA’s key document. It is fitting that in our 50th year, we propose a new constitution that will see an even better, more agile, and improved AILA. There are many people to thank, but in particular the National Office (Sophie Seck, well done for your tenacity and attention to detail!), as well as the Constitutional Working Group, chaired by Company Secretary Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard. I look forward to hearing members comments on this very important change.

As always, I always appreciate feedback and contact, and continue to tweet and FB your views to @AILA_National and @DJB_LA.

Daniel Bennett

AILA National President

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