The underwhelming Tasmanian budget has left the state’s architecture sector unimpressed. With promises of ‘the biggest planning reform ever seen’ the industry is being left short, with a number of initiatives not going ahead as planned.
One of these is the plan to replace Tasmania’s State Architect. With no budget allocation for the architecture job, it is clear the state government has abandoned the initiative, a decision that has raised the ire of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA).
Premier Lara Giddings states that the position will not be filled until the state budget is in better shape, a move that AIA Tasmanian president Karen Davis has labeled as ‘ill-advised.’
“Good design occurs when processes are in place at the earliest possible procurement phase – it can’t be added on later,” says Davis. “When strategic design thinking is applied to projects, efficiency is introduced into the planning, value for money is delivered, lower running costs for buildings results, community pride and community identity are established through the built outcome.”
The AIA has stated that Australian cities are rated highly in liveability due to well-advised urban strategies, arguing that the State Architect position is ‘integral to the role (of) developing policies that foster liveability and sustainability.’
The loss of the State Architect could mean a loss of streamlined urban development projects. The former architect in the top job, Peter Poulet, brought together a number of key state initiatives, including the Sullivans Cove Master Plan and the Capital City Masterplan. Not only was Poulet key to the efficient strategic planning of Tasmania but also in bringing these developments into the governmental sphere to gain much needed funding.
“The State Architect introduces processes within procurement of design services, buildings and urban design initiatives to enable best possible design outcomes,” says Davis. “The absence of a State Architect leaves a hole for the provision of ongoing advice and progression of these strategies.”
With a huge emphasis being placed on large scale urban development ‘precinct‘ initiatives, the Tasmanian industry is sure so be tested now in its ability to undertake these projects without the added government backed support.