National President's Message - 16 December 2015

Friends and colleagues,

"The future of the people of the world, the future of our planet, is in your hands. We cannot afford indecision, half measures or merely gradual approaches. Our goal must be a transformation." — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 30 November, 2015


In my role at the City of Adelaide I have been fortunate in recent days to hear directly from our Lord Mayor, Martin Haese, who attended the talks with South Australian Premier Jay Wetherill, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, about the hard work, tenacity, and exemplary efforts by many across Australia and the world to ensure a positive outcome from the Paris COP21 talks for the planet.

‘After representing the City of Adelaide at COP21, it re-enforces my own belief that addressing climate change is an environmental imperative and an economic opportunity. The benefits of securing carbon neutrality for the City of Adelaide by 2025 are compelling.’ – Lord Major of the City of Adelaide, Martin Haese, 13 December 2015


The outcomes are historic for so many reasons, and I’ve had many ask me about AILA’s position on the Paris COP21 talks. Our position is very simple: AILA recognises and acknowledges the widespread evidence of the effects of anthropogenic climate change on the planet. We support the outcomes and look forward to our continuing dialogue with all levels of government to understand how landscape architects can continue to mitigate the impacts of global warming and make positive contributions from policies to projects across Australia.

AILA has a range of policies and statements regarding climate change and mitigation, and we continue to work on advocacy and developing national policies, standards and guidelines for green infrastructure, as one very significant example. There is so much more to achieve, and our ‘Living Cities’ summit is one we will be discussing further in 2016, at the highest levels of government across Australia.

From hidden tree top cubbies, wetlands, lizard dens to bug hotels and forest swings - My Park Rules has captured the imagination of school communities all over Australia.

Over the last eight weeks we've received almost 100 entries from kindergartens, day care centres, primary schools and high schools. Combined, these entries have gathered more than 30,000 votes! This is a spectacular endorsement of creating opportunities for better green space in schools all over the country, with the help of landscape architects.

In this last week the program was featured on ABC NEWS 24 Breakfast, ABC Radio National ‘Drive’, and many local and regional media outlets.

We have already received a number of approaches from practices wanting to support this program, and we encourage any practices that would like to support their state finalists to email admin@aila.org.au as we will be teaming up schools early in 2016.

The My Park Rules finalists from each state are:

It has been a fantastic year for landscape architects in Australia, with a growing and engaged membership, advocacy to the highest level of government - with great thanks to new PM Malcolm Turnbull for recognising the value of landscape architects, a successful Festival of Landscape Architects, and many, many more initiatives. We have an engaged and transparent dialogue with you – our members - and this really does ensure AILA can continue to aspire to and realise our mission, vision and goals.

My heartfelt thanks goes to all of you – no matter how small your contribution – for your passion, support, enthusiasm, honesty, energy and enrichment to our humble profession throughout 2015.

Finally, I am always happy to hear your views, and you can contact me at president@aila.org.au, the National Office, or via Twitter (@DJB_LA) to discuss anything of relevance to the profession or AILA.

With the festive season for many of us approaching, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the AILA National Council and all AILA staff, to wish you all a very merry, safe, and relaxed break and a happy new year.

See you all in 2016 to celebrate AILA’s 50th birthday! Its gonna be a big party!

Daniel Bennett, AILA

National President

Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

Twitter: @DJB_LA

Tweets Tweet to @AILA_National