The Shearer’s Quarters, John Wardle Architects

The Shearer’s Quarters, John Wardle Architects
photo Trevor Mein

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Policy & Advocacy

We can all benefit from Australian towns and cities that are more productive, sustainable and liveable. The Institute promotes policies and reforms that advance our urban environments and enhance our lives.

The Institute undertakes to help improve the quality of our built environment. We play an important role in shaping Australia’s future, working to raise design standards in our cities and towns, to position Australia as an international design leader and to make Australia a better place for all of us.

For more detail on policy and advocacy activity at the state and territory level, please visit the Institute’s individual state and territory Chapter pages.

2019 Federal Election Platform
Procurement of architectural services
Institute policies and advocacy statements
Institute submissions to federal, state and territory governments

2019 Federal Election Platform

The federal election has been called for 18 May 2019.

The Institute has identified six key areas the Australian Government should address in building affordable, equitable, amenable and sustainable places that contribute to the wellbeing of Australian communities and our economy. 

1.  Fostering Thriving Cities and Regions
2.  Housing a Diverse and Inclusive Community
3.  Improving Building Regulation
4.  Addressing Climate Change
5.  Capitalising on Creativity
6.  Supporting Australian Skills and Trade

 View our detailed 2019 Federal Election Platform.


Immediately after the election was called, the National President and Chief Executive wrote to all parties contesting the federal election.

In our message to the parties, we emphasised that the Institute and its members are dedicated to raising the quality of the built environment and seek to improve the enduring health and wellbeing of all Australians and our diverse communities. We promoted the fact that Australian architects have a worldwide reputation for innovative design leadership and our profession is well placed to support the Australian Government through advice on ways to address the key challenges that we are facing in our towns and cities.

The primary issues we identified include climate change, housing affordability, equitable access to community services, an ageing demographic, increasing demand for efficient transport systems, and the need for more community and public infrastructure to support a growing population.

To face these challenges, we stated that the government will require built environment expertise and strategic planning to support its development of effective policy and project solutions. We believe it is critical to foster the unique capability of our built environment professionals and their capacity to bring innovation and know-how to government’s work.

We ask for each party’s policy position on some specific matters and provided our policy platform that outlined 6 key areas:

  1. Fostering Thriving Cities and Regions
  2. Housing a Diverse and Inclusive Community
  3. Improving Building Regulation
  4. Addressing Climate Change
  5. Capitalising on Creativity
  6. Supporting Australian Skills and Trade 

We have received responses from the Australian Labour Party and the Liberal Party. In summary:

  • The Liberals support the appointment of a Cabinet-level Minister for Infrastructure and for a Cities portfolio, but do not support the creation of a Major Cities Unit.  Labor will re-establish the Major Cities Unit and has committed to establish an expert panel to advise on strategic planning guidelines for cities.
  • Both parties support the concept of City Deals or Partnerships programs but were non-committal on linking them to specific design and sustainability benchmarks.
  • There was considerable difference between the parties around support for adopting a national architecture policy. The Liberals believe that this is the remit of states and territories under the auspices of the Building Ministers Forum. Labor has committed to including a national architecture policy in a revised Urban Design Protocol.
  • Neither party has committed to appointing an Australian Government Architect.
  • Both parties support the importance of urban-related research.
  • Both parties listed detailed actions they would take to increase the affordable and social housing stock and address climate change. The major difference between the two parties on climate change is that the Liberals will continue with their direct-action plan, whereas Labor will focus on increasing renewable energy sources, introduce an electric vehicle policy and programs around reducing pollution and increasing energy efficiency in manufacturing and in other industries.  
Below the detailed responses from the parties. 

 Read the Australian Labor Party's
 response to our Election Platform.
 Read the Australian Liberal Party and National's
 response to our Election Platform.

Post-election, the Institute will be pursuing these issues with the federal government on an ongoing basis.

Procurement of Architectural Services

The Australian Institute of Architects has identified procurement of architectural services as a key policy priority and has undertaken research to investigate best practice EOI and RFT methods in public sector and educational institutions that commission architectural services. The research looked into the current experiences and perceptions of architects and clients and includes analysis of industry and government policy documents, interviews with government and institutional clients, and an online survey of Institute members.

The research enabled the Institute to develop a set of Guidelines for EOI and RFT for architectural services. The objective of the guidelines is for potential clients to review their own EOI and RFT methods and documents and align them with best practice to enable an effective and efficient process that maximises the potential for high quality built outcomes and reduces bidding and assessment costs for all.

 Download and share the guidelines with
 potential clients.
 Review the research on best practice EOI
 and RFT methods.


Institute submissions to federal, state and territory governments

The Institute actively engages with federal, state and territory governments, local government, the opposition and government departments to promote the strategies, policies and processes needed to create a built environment that can sustain us into the future. This includes responding to various government and department consultation papers and parliamentary inquiries. Submissions include: