Directors Message - 18 April 2017

It is with delight that I advise that the landscape architecture profession has finally made it into the pinnacle of new media in Australia! The Beetoota Advocate is a tongue in cheek Australian publication reputedly based in the real ghost town of Betoota in far western Queensland, and regards itself as Australia’s oldest newspaper. This off-the-wall digital publication has an emerging popular culture following, and prides itself on “reporting fair and just news with the authenticity that rivals only the salt on the sunburnt earth that surrounds us here in the Queensland Channel Country”. Whilst humorous this article is very flattering to our profession just by recognition – we are identified as being at the centre of a social discourse on “inner city lefties”.

On a factual note the media profile that our organisation is now receiving is tremendous.Recent media reports from the December – March period indicate we had 239,183 pageviews and 77,676 sessions to (with around 38% first time visitors), 2,649 Twitter Followers, 2,454 Facebook Likes and 122 pieces of media coverage including online, print and radio.

Just last week, AILA and 202020Vision hosted the sod-turn for the winner of the popular My Park Rules campaign, Marrickville Primary School. Both Lucy Turnbull AO and Anthony Albanese MP were in attendance alongside media and supporters. The special event received excellent media exposure whilst positioning AILA as committed to designing and creating a better Australia.

This profile is instrumental to our influence on our society and our leaders about better landscape outcomes, funding and recognition for the work of landscape architects. It is important that we continue this critical profile work to the ongoing success and sustainability of our profession.Of course this is with its challenges, and will put us sometimes at the forefront of debate – but isn’t this where we want to be?

As an example of the value of the profile for our profession is the recent media release from the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation on the formation of a Cities Reference Group. The Cities Reference Group is to comprise leading thinkers on cities issues in Australia, as well as internationally renowned experts and is intended as will be a valuable source of expertise and insight for the Government as we continue to deliver on the Smart Cites Plan. I am very proud to announce that our AILA CEO Shahana McKenzie has been appointed on the Cities Reference Group. This is a great opportunity for the profession and is a recognition of the work we have done in building our profile and strong connections and networks with industry and government.

On another note I also want to reiterate our National President, Linda Corkery’s message of the 20 March about the formation of the Connection to Country Working Group to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan for AILA. I am the first to admit that I personally don’t know how to approach reconciliation, but as a landscape architect have great respect for indigenous culture and the Australian landscape. If we, as a profession, profess to have stewardship for our landscape, we should be leading national, state and local efforts to embrace indigenous values and set the exemplar for reconciliation. I look forward to the formation of the Connection to Country Working Group, learning from their efforts, and then championing its implementation both in my role as a Director, but also a landscape architect in my workplace.

Best regards everyone.

Shaun Walsh

AILA Director

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