National President's Message - 16 March 2015

Last week the National Council came together in Hobart and looked back over the last 12 months of achievement and sharpened our focus for the future. National Council is delighted with the progress we have made on a number of fronts, but also recognise that we need to ensure each step we now take forward is moving us closer to the end game.

As you may be aware, AILA has been undergoing a visioning and strategic planning process over the last few months that has involved members of National Council, staff and members. A summary of their work was presented to National Council last week and I am delighted to advise National Council resolved to focus our resources and efforts on the following:

Membership (4000 members by 2020) – 20% resources

Profile raising (media and the public) – 40% resources

Advocacy (government and policy) – 20% resources

Finance and administration (breakeven minimum expectation) – 20% resources

I am sure you would agree that this is a brave new AILA we are moving towards with over 60% of our available resources to focus on the external environment in raising the profile of the profession and influencing government policy making. The focus on profile raising and advocacy reflects the multiple benefits to the profession which can come from such an investment. Increased awareness drives procurement, policy, employment and university enrolments. Landscape architects are responsible for the planning, design and management of the best spaces and places where we live, work and play.

I hope that as members you agree with this direction, and we look forward to receiving your feedback through the extensive consultation program regarding this. There is still much work to be done, however I am extremely excited about the direction this now allows us to take AILA into the future.

The progress of investigations on topics such as the AILA awards review, membership structure and constitution review were also discussed. Each item was considered in terms of alignment with AILA goals which greatly assisted decision making processes. For example the awards are a key tool in raising the profile of landscape architecture so the structure should prioritise external promotion whilst still retaining categories with peer to peer recognition. Over the coming months members will be asked to comment on the policies which align with the proposed goals to ensure members are supportive of the proposed direction for AILA.

Congratulations to the AILA Tasmania Chapter for running a successful City Talk on a proposed light rail line for Hobart. The event coincided with the National Council meeting and it was a great opportunity to see the format of the event. The topical event successfully attracted members of the public, politicians, allied professionals and policy makers as well as generated strong media interest. It was a terrific model for other chapters to consider especially if AILA is seeking to grow the profile of the profession in their area. Initiatives such as the City Talks are perhaps the reason why Tasmania has had the largest per capita growth during the recent #AreYouReady membership drive.

A special mention and congratulations to two members who helped make the #AreYouReady membership drive such a success:

Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard (Perth, WA) who recruited the most members. Sara will receive an AILA Green Ticket which entitles her to free entry to every AILA event in 2015, including the Festival of Landscape Architecture: This Public Life (15-18 Oct).

James Oliver (Maroochydore, QLD) who was the winner of the draw to receive free membership for the next 3 years.

Mark Frisby

AILA National President

Australian Institute of Landscape Architects 

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