Advocacy Update December 2019

Earlier this year AILA committed to providing two detailed updates a year on the advocacy work that has been undertaken across the country.

The last update was provided in April, so this report covers activities from that point through until now. The advocacy efforts of AILA are most successful when members contribute to the submissions and position statements. We thank all of the members who have been guiding and leading our advocacy work this year.

National Advocacy

Climate and Biodiversity Loss Emergency

The key highlight has been the Declaration of and Climate and Biodiversity Loss Emergency.

The declaration came in response to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report which stated humanity has just 12 years to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

We also saw the International Federation of Landscape Architects make a similar declaration during the 2019 World Congress in Oslo.

Since making the declaration, AILA has made progress against the immediate actions and we can report:

  • AILA has reviewed it’s operational activities and improved in appliances, changed lighting and alsocommenced carbon offsetting travel.
  • We’ve encouraged all of our corporate partners to develop their own action plans and we’re excited by the uptake of Street Future Australia who have made their own declaration.
  • We’re developing resources to help members to advocate and adjust their own practices. A Climate Positive Position Statement is currently out for comment from members.
  • We supported the Global Climate Strike in September and encouraged members to do the same.
  • We called on the government to accelerate its work to protect our native species and their habitats by pausing the Festival of Landscape Architect for a die-in activation as a stand against the impacts of urban development of biodiversity in Australia.


It is just the beginning and more work is needed in response to the emergency. This will remain a key focus for AILA in 2020.

Green Infrastructure to make cities more liveable and sustainable 

AILA released a Green Infrastructure Position Statement calling on non-government agencies, industry organisations and governments at all levels to make significant progress towards improving the liveability and sustainability of urban and regional settlements through Green Infrastructure. 

Deeper collaboration for design excellence

In the face of a changing climate and growing population that are both putting pressure on our built environment, AILA worked with the Planning Institute of Australia and the Australian Institute of Architects to signal our intent to pursue a deeper collaboration that will strengthen the collective advocacy with the aim of helping to deliver more resilient, liveable cities.

Partnerships are critical in accelerating and accentuating the advocacy work that AILA can do with in the broader built environment sector.

Federal Election Campaign

During the 2019 Federal election, AILA developed a campaign to influence the policy platforms of the major political parties. The main element of the campaign was to develop resources and tools that members could use to engage with their local candidates.

The results of the campaign were mixed with Labor picking up AILA’s election platform word for word. No response was received from the Greens and Liberal focus more on a reiteration of their existing policy positions.

With that considered, the campaign also managed to achieve material PR exposure across major metro media outlets and broad exposure across social media.

This method is something which AILA will continue to enhance and build on for future state and federal elections.


Western Australia

AILA WA's advocacy group have been active meeting monthly and delivering positions statements on a number of issues relevant to Western Australia. Belinda Foster has taken on the role of Chair and has been developing engaging and interesting agendas.   The group have a number of initiatives achieved and more in the pipeline. AILA WA are currently working on the following items listed in terms of priority: Landscape Architect inclusion within the OGA, Living Infrastructure Platform, City of Stirling Draft Better Suburbs Policy, JDAP determination regarding trees for cash, and summary of WAPC SPP3.7.

AILA WA have submitted the following position statements over the last six months:


Australian Capital Territory

The ACT Chapter recently submitted a paper in response to the proposed amendments to the Tree Protection ACT 2005. The Chapter has renewed it’s approached to engaging with local members recently and the submission had many contributors.

During the reporting period the Chapter also ran a successful ideas competition in partnership with the City Renewal Authority, the National Capital Authority and the ACT Government. The competition raised the profile of landscape architects and the important role they play in adaptation to climate change and designing of our cities and towns.


Northern Territory

Earlier this year the NT Chapter submitted a response to the City of Darwin on behalf of the local landscape architects following a selective tender that was issued for the Beautification of Darwin Streetscape. The letter was received with positive feedback, the tender was withdrawn and reissued in a new form following meetings and advice from our members.

AILA NT have been liaising with an advisor at the Chief Minister Department in the NT about an upcoming breakfast catch-up between the CM & AILA NT members. We have outlined a handful of discussion topics we wish to discuss. These mainly focus on local issues which include topics such as adequate landscape design briefs, Design & Construct Tenders and Shading & Urban Cooling initiatives.

New South Wales

AILA NSW continues to be engaged and collaborate with NSW Built Environment Committee. The Committee comprises representation from AIA PIA Engineers Australia and AILA and provides independent commentary and advocacy on new development and Government policy developments. The role is important in providing a holistic and integrated response from the built environment design professions, particularly for large scale complex projects or policy.


South Australia

Planning Reform

The SA Chapter is currently reviewing the Draft Planning + Design Code as part of the new Planning System in SA, focusing on the value of green infrastructure, trees and streetscapes in shaping our communities and reiterating the messages we have shared over many years through this ongoing reform process.

Click Here to view related AILA SA submissions to Government.

Creative Industries Think Tank

AILA SA is now a member of a newly formed local industry group to explore opportunities for the Creative Industries in SA. This is an independent group representing a number of design related sectors in the State.

The group is currently working with the Department for Innovation and Skills to support Growth State, a coordinated government commitment to establish collective responsibilities of industry and Government to grow the economy. AILA SA will be contributing to the development of a creative industries Sector Strategy over the coming months.

AILA SA Creating Greener Places for Healthy and Sustainable Communities

The Healthy Parks Healthy People SA partnership has identified six key principles for green infrastructure in urban settings to help grow our city in a way that protects and enhances our existing green spaces alongside the creation of new open space destinations.  AILA SA has led the development of these principles with Department for Environment and Water (DEW) and the Department for Health and Wellbeing (DHW). The final document is now available to share amongst your networks - Creating Greener Places for Healthy and Sustainable Communities: Ideas for Quality Green Public Space in South Australia.



The Queensland Chapter have been very busy in the advocacy space attending government meetings, with programmes and projects out for consultation. Responses have been submitted for Brisbane City Council consultations including Design led Brisbane, multi-residential code changes, Victoria park project; State government’s model code for residential development and City of Gold Coast’s town planning changes and others.

We have recently had changes within the Advocacy committee, with a number of members moving on and new members coming on board.

However, the main focus is the current status of QBCC licencing negotiations with the Queensland Government.  Late August, AILA met with the Queensland Government team tasked with implementing the recommendations of the national Shergold Weir Building confidence report. Key points from our discussions to date and the government’s responses are as follows:

  1. Queensland Government has received legal advice that practising Landscape Architectural firms DO NEED a “QBCC Project Management” licence if they perform site-related contracted administration services
  2. AILA has responded to this by asking for:
    1. A grace period to allow practitioners to get the appropriate licence
    2. An advisory note from QBCC explaining what practitioners need to do to get the licence, and who in the firm needs to get the licence
    3. An update to the QBCC licence form to be more appropriate to Landscape Architectural practice (rather than aimed at building contractors)
    4. An update to the QBCC regulation to recognize an AILA accredited Landscape Architecture degree as an acceptable degree for landscape architectural contract administration education
    5. Recognition that AILA’s “Registered Landscape Architect” programme covers many of the prerequisites to achieving the licence.
    6. A commitment to begin the process to protect the “Landscape Architect” title in legislation (similar to protection of “Architect” title) and government funding to assist AILA in this process.

We are in the process of setting up further meetings with State Government and QBCC early in January.



Since being elected in June 2019 the AILA Victoria Executive has reinstated the Victorian Advocacy Committee and increased our focus on advocacy more generally. Over recent years the responsibility to provide advice and prepare submissions has fallen to individuals or sub-committees and resulted in a somewhat disjointed voice. Strengthening AILA’s voice in the public discourse is a key objective of the Victorian Executive. The Advocacy Committee and Victorian Executive are currently finalising a process to streamline and improve public submissions and ensure a consistent approach and voice. It will also allow us to be more proactive in our engagement, and to draw on our committees and members.

Over the past six months AILA Victoria has prepared a broad range of submissions including responses to:

  • Protecting the Waterways of the West discussion paper
  • Draft Planning Guidelines for Golf Course Redevelopment
  • Parks Victoria’s Draft Land Management Strategy, Aspiration and Guiding Principles
  • Better Apartments in Neighbourhoods Guidelines updates discussion paper
  • North East Link Public Hearing
  • Melbourne Water Topsoils Specifications
  • Melbourne Water Matting specifications
  • The Melbourne Open Space Strategy (M.O.S.S.)

The response to (M.O.S.S.) drew specifically on the outputs of The Future Park Design Ideas Competition that was run in as a part of the 2019 AILA Festival.

More broadly the Victorian Chapter, in collaboration with AIA and PIA, have met with the State Chief Engineer, Planning Minister, and have a scheduled meeting with the CEO of the Municipal Association of Victoria early in 2020. Through our relationship with AIA and PIA we have agreed (where appropriate) we will continue to lobby with a united front to promote a stronger and united voice within the industry. Ongoing work with AIA and PIA will continue to strengthen our voice and achieve common goals. Further work will be undertaken to better align our profession with the Engineering profession.