The Australian Institute of Architects believes the creation of an Office of the Australian Government Architect will lead to a profoundly positive impact on Australian design.

The Institute and its 13,000 members have asked all political candidates running for office in the upcoming federal election to commit to better design for Australia’s built environment through national leadership. The call for a national Government Architect is one of six proposals included within the Institute’s Federal Election Policy Statement ‘A Time For Action’.

AIA National President Tony Giannone says the creation of the Office will only work to benefit current and future landmarks and developments, such as the new Western Sydney Aerotropolis (pictured above).

“Most of Australia’s states and territories recognise the value of having a government architect to promote high-quality design for our public buildings,” he says.

“It is high time the Australian Government saw the value in this role at a national level. Government architects can provide an independent voice to guide the development of public buildings and create a national legacy.”

An allocation of $14 million over the next four years could establish the Office, irrespective of which political party holds government.

An Australian Government Architect would be able to advise government and statutory agencies on the best ways to achieve design excellence in government-owned or government-funded buildings. Additionally, a Connecting with Country advisor would guide project planning, work practices and relationship building, based on First Nations principles which is utilised in a number of privatised projects in the form of Indigenous consultancy agencies.

The AIA believes the creation of the Office would have a meaningful impact, given Australian governments procured about one-third of non-residential buildings across the country in 2021.

“We know people want well-designed, sustainable buildings,” Giannone says.

“Governments play a critical role in delivering on community expectations for our built environment. An Office of the Australian Government Architect would provide strategic advice to deliver architecture and urban design that boosts communities and places.”

Government Architects support planning and design in all Australian states and the ACT. Tasmania does not have a government architect and the role in the Northern Territory is currently vacant.

The AIA’s A Time For Action policies additionally include greater action and funding for climate change initiatives, a 30-year National Housing Strategy, a National Construction Supply Chain Strategy to boost local manufacturing, addressing gender diversity and inequality in construction, and calling for a national anti-corruption watchdog.

To read the policy statement in full, click here.