Architects’ new campaign against the $498m War Memorial project, particularly the proposed destruction of Anzac Hall

Honest History has received the following information from the Australian Institute of Architects. Honest History supports the AIA campaign, which aligns with the efforts of the Heritage Guardians group. HH

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Update 7 December 2020: Canberra City News. Also: Canberra Weekly. Also: Architecture and Design. Also: Architecture.com.au.

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As someone who has previously expressed concern about the Australian War Memorial’s planned $498 million redevelopment, I am writing on behalf of the Australian Institute of Architects to invite you to share information about, and participate in, a new campaign we are launching.

The social media-based campaign will launch on Monday 7 December 2020 and we will be rolling out a series of social media posts across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

With time running out to stop approval being granted, the aim of this campaign is to raise awareness throughout the community about the redevelopment proposal generally, and the impending demolition of Anzac Hall specifically.

The Australian War Memorial has not been upfront about the demolition in their public consultations and have misrepresented the level of public support while also downplaying community concern.

About the campaign

The campaign invites all Australians to show their support for Anzac Hall by sharing stories of their interactions with it on social media platforms.

These stories will show that the debate is not “just about a building” as the Australian War Memorial Director has claimed, but rather showcase Anzac Hall’s value as home to two decades’ worth of shared moments and treasured memories.

We are particularly concerned about failures of due process and the consequences for other icons if the Australian War Memorial, a preeminent national institution, is permitted to disregard its heritage obligations.

The campaign also provides an opportunity for supporters to raise other issues with the redevelopment.

Importantly the campaign will also help document the legacy of this relatively young, award-winning building which still has decades of life left in it.

Key approval milestones

As you may be aware, the redevelopment proposal is currently undergoing assessment under the EPBC Act, with a decision due by the Federal Environment Minister, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, no later than 11 December 2020.

The Public Works Committee is also due to table its report and recommendation to the Australian Parliament from the public inquiry it commenced in April this year.

These are the final two approval milestones prior to the project being considered by the National Capital Authority. 

Can you help?

We have put together a toolkit of campaign resources that we invite you to use and share including information about the campaign, together with some sample social media posts and artwork.

Even if you (or your organisation) are not in a position to support the campaign directly, we would ask you to please feel free to share information about the campaign through any network.

More information and a downloadable copy of our campaign toolkit will be available (for use from Monday 7 December 2020) on our dedicated campaign website here.

If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact policy@architecture.com.au

Thank you for your time in considering this invitation.

Kind regards,

[signed]

Clare Cousins, LFRAIA Hon. AIA

National President (2018-19)

Campaign Spokesperson endorsed by National Council

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