NSW News & Media 2021

News from the NSW Executive Member Adam Jeffery – 13 April 2021  | Responding Together


I keep reflecting on how 2020 was a year like no other. In the summer of 2020, we experienced devastating bush fires. In March 2020, we saw a global pandemic declaration followed by a range of lockdown measures which still dictate many aspects of movement around our country and cities.


Just when you think this year couldn't get any worse, in March 2021, we experienced an array of wild weather with record-breaking floods, impacting large parts of NSW and Queensland.  Many of the areas affected by floods were afflicted with extreme drought and bushfires from the previous summer of 2020. The burnt and scarred landscapes are often a catalyst for producing more runoff during extreme rain events because the fires reduce the soil's capacity to absorb and hold water.


There is no better time than now to be better prepared for a changing climate and readiness for increasingly severe weather events. We are best placed as landscape architects to provide leadership in all aspects of management, planning, and design that mitigates the onsets of a changing climate. As landscape architects, we should be at the forefront of protecting our natural environment and assisting our communities in adapting to our changing circumstances.


Adam Jeffery

AILA NSW Executive Secretary

News from the NSW Advocacy Committee Member - 30 March 2021 | Peak Place Policy approaches

As far as I can remember, 22 years ago we had the Urban Design Charter. Now we have the Design & Place SEPP, the Public Spaces Charter, Better Placed, Greener Places, Movement and Place, Place jobs in all our departments, corporate objectives like ‘Successful Places’ as well as Place division names like ‘Infrastructure & Place’. Design experts keep asking me what Place is all about, and people who are expert in other things seem to know exactly.

But it’s easy to be cynical and in fact the discussion, while confusing, is making people talk about design and the quality of our communities and the landscape. Which is a good thing as long as it doesn’t stop designers doing their job. The problems that can occur include place making when the place is already made and a check box approach to design which isn’t contextual.

But I really like the Governments Architects Connecting With Country Draft Framework. It asks us to humbly listen to Country and let her guide us. Brilliant.

Behind all this PPP lies a vast plain of industry and jobs and people quietly getting on with things that are timeless. LAs in the private sector and Councils across the State looking after parks and streets. Landscape architecture practices making things better on our vast transport program. Planners and landscape managers planning for and providing sports facilities over the whole of Greater Sydney. National Parks people improving, managing and helping in National Parks (often volunteers). State government LAs looking after Western Sydney Parkland or helping protect millions of trees on the South Coast Princes Highway.

I walked past some of these people last week, they had cordoned off the gates and gatehouse to Callan Park and I asked them (nicely) what they were up to. “Fixing the heritage gates, restoring the original lights, repairing the gatehouse and opening the gates for public access”. What great work! They were from Public Works, in the old heritage stone team under Bruce Pettman. It made me happy that they had been retained with all the changes in Government, and that they hadn’t been renamed Stone & Place (which sounds like a good beer.)

Anyway a lot happening at the moment and the Design and Place SEPP needs commenting on - so get involved.

Gareth Collins

AILA NSW Advocacy Committee member 

News from the NSW President Lee Andrews - 17 March 2021 | Quarterly Update

Much has been said that 2021 wants, needs to be better year than 2020. No argument. Part of this betterment is the shift we are seeing in how people notice and use their open space, which is testing our imagination in how to plan and for a better future.

AILA Chapter’s objective this year is to engage more with government, to encourage their policies to embrace AILA’s vision and principles contained within the growing 4 pillars.

COMMENTING: AILA Chapter Executive and Advocacy are commenting across numerous topics affecting our industry including the Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), the Greener Places Guide, Draft Design Building Practitioners Bill and Regulations and the potential impacts on AILA registration, the Urban Tree Canopy Cover, the Aerotropolis, the Parks for People program and pending SOP Parklands Future Directions to name a few.

ENGAGING:AILA Chapter Executive is engaging with the Minister for DPIE, the Place, Design and Public Spaces, the Government Architects and the Open Space and Parks offices promoting the need for more new open space, the implementation of the Green Grid increase funding to sustain the green initiatives and improved alignment of objectives and targets across government planning instruments. AILA Chapter is represented on the NSWG led COVID-19 Response (Shovel Ready)working group, a peak body representing development interests aimed at keeping the construction industry active and the economy turning.

WINNING: A significant win for all AILA members was the reinstatement by Transport for NSW of the Centre for Urban Design, led by landscape architects, author and keepers of the seminal and internationally referenced ‘Beyond the Pavement’ document. This is a significant positive step by the government in acknowledging the importance of the landscape architecture profession and green infrastructure.

MOVING FORWARD: In step with the upcoming AILA ‘2021 and Beyond Strategy’ AILA Chapter’s chapter strategy is also focused on regional membership. Along with changes to the Awards 2021, with the Regional Achievement Awards winners now being elevated to the National Award Program, the Chapter is also planning a regional salon in April. Be sure to come along face to face for the day to AILA NSW Regional Renaissance Salon held at Mereweather Newcastle on April 23rd!

Two proposals prepared by AILA members are being considered by the AILA Board include the AHLA Landscape Convention and the Shade Smart, a MoU between AILA, the Cancer Council and the Cancer Institute. Both offering significant considerations when designing in the landscape.

EVOLVING: With AILA Chapter Executive elections happening this year early June, I will be stepping down from the elected position of President after 2 terms. Nominations for executive member to join the Committee will be called for in time to ensure a new Chapter Executive in place well before the ACM and Awards 2021 celebrations .I invite you to start considering your application now.

CELEBRATING: AILA States Awards Program will be closing next week – Wednesday 24th March 11:59pm AEDT! Be sure to enter this year's Awards and get in touch with our Chapter Manager Tessa  if you have any queries. Future Leaders Students and Graduates will also be awarded in NSW this year, please put them forward, online and for free!

We look forward to the opportunity to celebrate with this year's entrants, winners and the industry, the outstanding landscape architecture achievements of 2020!

Lee Andrews

AILA Chapter (NSW) President

Release of EIE Design and Place SEPP  |  26 February 2021

On Friday 26th, the NSW Government Architect office released their EIE (Explanation of Intended Effect) of their Design and Place SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policies).

There is no question that the new Design and Place SEPP will have significant benefits not just for the profession of Landscape Architects, but more broadly for the landscape and GI values for which we advocate.

Link to Press Release - AILA Welcomes Registered Landscape Architect requirement by NSW Government
Link to Design and Place State Environment Planning Policy (Design and Place SEPP)

News from the NSW Advocacy Committee Member Katie Earle - 3 March 2021 | GANSW Designing With Country 

The Government Architect of NSW (GANSW) recently published Designing with Countrya discussion paper for ‘all stakeholders engaged in built environment projects that impact Aboriginal communities as well as their culture and heritage’ - GANSW March, 2020.

The Design with Country paper discusses and poses questions related to: the need to change our design and planning processes around Country, why we need to design for Country, restoring cultural landscapes, elements of designing with Country, human centric versus Country centric design process, the Ochre Grid, cultural mapping and the importance of Greater Sydney in Designing with Country.

The paper also discusses some of the issues that emerged from the ‘Designing with Country Forum’ held in Sydney in 2018, hosted by GANSW in partnership with the Australian Institute of Architects, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, and the Planning Institute of Australia.

Feedback to this discussion paper and associated activities will be used to support the development of Connecting with Country cultural design principles and implementation framework.

To address the challenge of how to ‘Design with Country’ GANSW will lead a series of engagement processes inviting Aboriginal community members, recognised cultural knowledge holders, design and planning industry experts, and government representatives to consider and respond to the themes explored in the document. These responses will help inform a set of Cultural Design Principles and a framework to apply them to all built environment projects delivered by government.


We would love to hear your valuable feedback and are calling on all AILA members to take our Designing with Country survey . The survey results will be summarised and sent to GANSW as a consolidated AILA NSW response to inform the development of the cultural design principles. Email us at nsw@aila.org.au to get in touch!

Katie Earl - AILA, NSW Advocacy Committee
Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard - FAILA , National and NSW Connection to Country Committee

News from the NSW Executive Member Emily Forrest - 16 February 2021 | Finding a rhythm

No doubt we’re all back in the rhythm of work for 2021 and many of us are hopeful that the challenges of last year are over and prove in the long-term to be a positive experience. Many State, Local government and private practices were able to continue with ongoing projects and benefit from stimulus seed funding through the various government funding channels. We anticipate that 2020 has seen a collection of interesting, unique and award-worthy projects delivered, which we may be privileged to preview in the 2021 AILA Awards. Entries are now open and the NSW Jury has been announced - you can find more information here . Last year’s live-streamed ceremony was a success AILA is keen to repeat, although we all love to meet in person so details of the event will be forthcoming.

In 2021 so far AILA NSW has held two webinar discussion forums for members, including January’s ‘NSW Exploring the NSW Building Regulation’ with the Australian Institute of Architecture’s Kathlyn Loseby, and the ‘Where Will all the Trees Be?’ phase three national benchmarking report card from the Greener Spaces Better Places collective (former 2020 Vision), presented by Jess Miller. Please remember that recordings of these events are now standard practice and available to AILA members, NSW and beyond.

Don’t forget to keep informed with AILA’s Advocacy interests – a full list of submissions is provided on the AILA NSW Advocacy Webpage.

Emily Forrest
NSW Executive Committee

News from the NSW Executive Member Carlo Missio - 2 February 2021 | Awards entries opening 10th Feb

Budyeri kamaru
, Hello in the Gadigal language, AILA members,

As 2021 moves into February we look forward to a new chapter for the global environment led by the USA on climate change policy and will ensure that our work and representation of the membership reflects the pressure required to ensure our legislators are on board with sustainable thinking at levels of government.


With Covid-19 still dictating many aspects of movement around the country and some of our cities and regions; remember to stay safe and follow all necessary precautions in the workplace and out on site.  The post Covid recovery and the impact of social distancing on public spaces and streetscapes is evident and will continue to be so as we evolve to respond to the shifting conditions and necessities of working from home and its viability long term.


Along with covid recovery plans, we can’t forget that a year ago much of Australia was devastated by bushfire and that while in a ‘la nina’ cycle we must maintain awareness of the risks during the bushfire season, but also not forget that many people are still living with the devastation and loss, coupled with covid. It is important to reach and talk to your peers, friends and relatives and remember that we are all in this together.


The executive would like to remind the membership that 2021 Award entries open on the 10th February and we are looking forward to seeing the amazing work you are all doing across the state and Australia.

Carlo Missio
NSW Executive Member

News from the NSW Executive Member Jason Cuffe - 19th January | Welcome to 2021

On behalf of AILA NSW I would like to welcome everyone back to the office, virtual or physical, and hope that you all had a refreshing break over the Christmas and New Year’s Period. As a newly appointed member of the Executive Committee I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing advocacy of the profession and representing the members of NSW.


Over my 10years+ of practice AILA has provided the foundation for the way in which I practice, the growth of my professional knowledge and the building of strong friend, client and colleague relationships. The opportunity to give back and be involved in these activities was a key motivation for joining the Executive Committee. Critical to this is the continued recognition of the profession through registration and engagement with junior to mid-level landscape architects. For me, this represents the prospect of increased membership but more importantly knowledge leadership and mentorship of the junior/ mid-level members of the profession. Equally, I would encourage registered junior and mid-level landscape architects to put their hand up to actively be involved in AILA and have a voice at the table of the profession. To be leaders in their own right and to champion the next generation of design, practice and advocacy of the profession.


I am extremely humbled and excited to be part of the AILA NSW team and drive representation of its members at a state level; to listen to and to learn from the extraordinary depth of knowledge that you as landscape architects have; and to share this knowledge with other disciplines, organisations and state bodies.


Thank you for the opportunity and I look forward to working with all of you in 2021.


Jason Cuffe

Executive Committee

Historical NSW Media