News from National President 29 March 2016

29 March 2016

Hello, and thanks Geelong!

Friends and Colleagues,

Your national council took to the tracks in early March, traveling by train from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station to Geelong to meet local AILA members and students, and to have our 1st face to face council meeting for 2016.

Geelong is a major Victorian city facing significant challenges, including the closure of major manufacturing industries. This includes Ford’s last Australian factory, where the Falcon has been made for 59 years along with engines for export, as well as the closure recently of Alcoa’s aluminium smelter. However, despite the pressures, Geelong is a city facing the challenges head on, with strong local leadership, a city based university, and other long term city initiatives (including the TCL led waterfront strategy) making lasting contributions to the city’s long term success. Let’s continue to support Geelong as it creates a new future beyond manufacturing.

It would also be remiss of me not to shout out and wish the Geelong Cats a successful 2016 footy season...(just slightly behind my beloved Swans…)

A meet and greet with local and regional members, hosted by Deakin University’s Professor David Jones, was held on Geelong’s iconic pier, with the national council and AILA’s CEO discussing local issues and to hear about the new landscape architecture master’s program at Deakin. My thanks go to Deakin University for hosting, and providing our amazing venue for our meeting.

Our national council meeting was very productive, making some key decisions for the year ahead.

This included adopting the AILA budget for 2016/2017, the National Advocacy Strategy, our 50th celebrations plan, and our new AILA logo (which will be released in coming weeks, watch out for it). We also formally farewelled Immediate Past President Mark Frisby; who now steps down from national council. I would like to personally and sincerely thank Mark for his guidance and advice over the last few months.

At the conclusion of our Geelong meeting, the national council returned to Melbourne by train and many of us attending the ‘Connection to Country’ event, organised by AILA’s Victorian chapter, at Federation Square. The event explored the culture, languages and connection to country, to better understand and engage with our cultural landscapes; learning from our neighbours as well as considering process and principles for sites across Victoria. I highly commend the Victorian chapter for their initiative, and national council fully supports continuing this important conversation.

Moving to advocacy, the Australia’s best playground initiative received 42 entries nationally, a great result and the jury now has a tough time judging our best playspace. AILA is delighted that Lappset partnered with us on this initiative to raise the profile of landscape architects working in the area of play space design. Thanks to Harri from Lappset for his continued support.

The My Park Rules campaign reaches a crescendo very soon with the jury meeting in Sydney on April 7 to judge the winning entry from a shortlist of 8. We’ve had a lot of interest in the project, with the Federal Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, meeting with SA State President Ben Willsmore and myself, along with the landscape architects of the SA finalist (DesignWell) at Concordia College ELC earlier this week; and the member for Grayndler and Opposition Minister for Infrastructure and Cities, Anthony Albanese, visiting the NSW finalist, Marrickville Public School who are working with TRACT Consultants. My thanks go to all landscape architects and shortlisted entrants involved, and good luck!

If you’re seeking opportunities for continuing professional development, make sure you start planning for the 2016 Festival for Landscape Architecture, ‘Not in My Backyard’, to be held in Canberra in October. Please find the link for more information here.

If you’re seeking wider CPD, have you considered this year’s Australian Institute of Architects 2016 National Conference in Adelaide, link here. Or the PIA National Congress in Brisbane AILA has secured member rates for these great events, so check your CPD plan and get organising!

One of our great recent reforms is that any member can raise an issue and present a paper at any of our meetings, and I encourage you all to contribute or ask questions at any time, through the many avenues available to you.

Finally, we will know shortly when the Federal Election will be, and never before has your institute been better prepared and placed to help shape and contribute to the national policies of the major parties, and to ensure your voice helps shape Australia’s future.

As always, please drop me a line if I can be of assistance or advice, or contact the National Office.

Have a good week!

Daniel Bennett

Registered Landscape Architect

National President

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