Directors Message - 8 June 2020

It is important to reflect on recent events including the 2020 National Reconciliation Week and Sorry Day, the legal destruction of a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal heritage sacred site, and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in cities and towns across Australia and the world.

The right to freedom of assembly and association enshrines the right of individuals and groups to meet and to engage in peaceful protest and the right to form and join associations to pursue common goals. People took to the streets to share their common goals because our streets and plazas are public spaces, as defined by the 2013 Charter of Public Space, are ‘places publicly owned or of public use, accessible and enjoyable by all for free and without a profit motive…’ And with the design of public spaces comes personal and professional responsibility, whether designing, or advocating for, accessible, and equitable places. 

At the 2019 Landscape Australia Conference N’arweet Carolyn Briggs, Boon Wurrung senior elder and chairperson and founder of the Boon Wurrung Foundation reminded us that as designers of place, we are “shaping culture, engaging and informing [it] and celebrating and protecting [it].” But that she “[didn’t] see me in the city”. It is our responsibility to design places that reflect-back Australia’s diverse communities, and that acknowledge and celebrate the oldest continuous culture on the planet.

Our Connection to Country members, committed volunteers, are undertaking a review of AILA’s Reflection Reconciliations Action Plan (RAP). This level of RAP sets out the steps we should take to prepare AILA for reconciliation initiatives in successive RAPs and spending time scoping and developing relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders, establishing our vision for reconciliation, and exploring our sphere of influence, before committing to specific actions or initiatives.

AILA is renewing its commitment to reconciliation which seeks to strengthen relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians. Contact AILA to discuss how you can help to support our reconciliation journey.

Kind regards,

Claire Martin
AILA National Director