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The Government Architects Network of Australia

The Government Architects Network of Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia and acknowledges their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

About the Network

The Government Architects Network of Australia is a formalised, national collaborative exchange comprising the Government Architects and Associate Government Architects from each Australian state and territory.

Government Architect
Offices of Australia


The Network offers members access to the diversity of knowledge, skills, experience and resources of other Government Architects and their teams from across Australia.

The Government Architects Network of Australia:

  • discuss local, state and national issues and opportunities, including sustainable development, climate change, housing affordability and diversity, urbanism, integrated design and planning, city growth and development, procurement, design innovation, industry standards and practice
  • seek united endorsement of relevant state and national policies, standards and guidelines
  • develop and implement a standardised approach to Design Review
  • share new and best practice research, guidance material and case studies for the benefit of all states and territories
  • encourage effective collaboration across state, local and federal governments
  • foster authentic engagement and effective partnerships with industry bodies, education institutions and the private sector

The role of Government Architect

The role of the Government Architect is to promote the value of good design and enhance the quality of the built environment for the benefit of current and future generations.

Each Government Architect has a whole-of-government leadership role providing strategic, independent and expert design advice to Government and industry about architecture, landscape architecture and urban design and promotes awareness of how good design contributes to successful urban environments for public benefit.

Specific functions of the role differ from state to state.

Who we are

Australian Capital Territory

Catherine Townsend, FRAIA
ACT Government Architect

Catherine is a highly respected architect with 40 years of experience across practice and government. In 2016, Catherine became the Australian Capital Territory’s first female Government Architect. Her commitment to better places, liveable buildings and sustainable cities is informed by decades of advocacy work with communities and professional organisations.

With a commitment to better built outcomes, Catherine Chairs the National Capital Design Review Panel, provides strategic advice to government, is an expert panel member for significant government projects, and a speaker at industry, government, public and university events.

Catherine’s experience in practice, the construction industry regulatory review and development underpin her commitment to excellence in the built environment and progress through intelligent and collaborative design.


Abbie Galvin
NSW Government Architect


As the 24th NSW Government Architect, Abbie leads an office established in the early days of the Sydney colony that has practiced for over two centuries.

Abbie is responsible for championing design excellence across New South Wales and shaping quality places and public spaces through policy and advocacy.

Abbie brings experience from a 30-year career in private practice on public, education, residential, health, research and commercial projects. Projects led by Abbie have received over 40 state, national and international architectural awards. Abbie is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects, has received the Marion Mahoney Griffin Prize for a distinctive body of work in the field of architecture and is a former Director of the architectural practice BVN.


Leah Lang
QLD Government Architect

Leah is an award-winning architect, experienced strategic design advisor and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects.

As the Government Architect, Leah advises government on housing, health, transport, economic development policy and significant projects, such as the 2032 Brisbane Olympics. Previously, Leah served as the Gold Coast City Architect and oversaw city-wide design policy and implementation, including the Home of the Arts cultural precinct and final stages of the 2018 Commonwealth Games’ venues.

With over 25 years of experience, Leah is undaunted by large-scale, complex and ambitious projects.
Leah’s leadership and expertise is utilised through appointments to multiple design boards, panels, teaching positions and juries. Collectively, she leverages these roles to advocate for and facilitate high-quality, people and place-responsive design and heritage outcomes.


Kirsteen Mackay
SA Government Architect

Kirsteen became Australia’s first female Government Architect following her appointment to the position in South Australia in 2015.

As the Government Architect, Kirsteen leads the Office for Design and Architecture SA, which oversees the state’s Design Review programs, provides independent design advice across state and local governments, administers legislation on behalf of Cabinet and supports strategic projects and policy development.

Originally from Scotland, Kirsteen is a registered architect in the United Kingdom and South Australia with extensive private and public sector experience, including with her own London-based architecture studio and the UK’s Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

Kirsteen’s leadership, commitment to high-quality design and professional integrity are recognised through appointments to the Architectural Practice Board of South Australia, various government liaison groups and industry juries.


Scott Balmforth
Tasmanian Strategic Architect and Urban Design Advisor

Scott provides specialist advice on architectural, urban and landscape design, engineering, and infrastructure design services, promoting policy and reforms for best practice outcomes, addressing construction quality issues to achieving responses to climate change in the built environment.

Scott has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the Tasmanian design space and has been responsible for a range of award-winning and internationally hailed strategic, master planning, public, commercial, and residential projects. Scott’s local knowledge means he has a keen interest in, and understanding of, making the most of Tasmania’s public infrastructure and building projects to contribute to what makes our cities special.

Scott’s high-standing in the Tasmanian architecture and urban design community and leadership expertise is evidenced by his position of Chair of the City of Hobart Urban Design Advisory Panel. Scott is a registered architect in Victoria and Tasmania, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania’s School of Architecture, and former Chapter Councillor of the Australian Institute of Architects. He has a Masters by Practice degree from RMIT University and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Jill Garner
VIC Government Architect

Jill became the Victorian Government Architect in 2015 as a public advocate for architecture and design after more than twenty years in practice.

As an architect, her practice Garner Davis has received numerous awards for public and private works. As a design advisor and advocate, Jill promotes the value of contextual, integrated design thinking and collaboration.

Jill has taught at RMIT and Melbourne University, served as a board member and examiner for the Architects Registration Board of Victoria and in 2018 chaired the national committee for the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Jill is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and in 2021 was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for service to architecture, education and professional associations.


Emma Williamson
WA Government Architect

As the Government Architect of Western Australia, Emma provides independent, expert advice on significant projects and strategic planning to State Government, the Premier and Minister for Planning. As Chair of Western Australia’s State Design Review Panel, she plays a significant role in the design evaluation of major and city-changing projects.

Emma holds degrees in Architecture and Interior Design and has nearly 30 years’ experience in practice. As an advocate for social issues related to the profession, she was awarded the RAIA Paula Whitman Leadership in Gender Equity Prize and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects. Emma co-founded award-winning practices TheFulcrum.Agency and CODA Studio.

Contact information

Australian Capital Territory
ACT Government Architect

Ngunnawal Country / Canberra
(02) 6207 5489
Email · Website

New South Wales
Government Architect New South Wales

Dharug Country / Parramatta
(02) 9860 1450
Email · Website

Office of the Queensland Government Architect

Turrbal Country / Brisbane
(07) 3008 3411
Email · Website

South Australia
Office for Design and Architecture SA

Kaurna Country / Adelaide
(08) 8402 1884
Email · Website

Infrastructure Tasmania

Nipaluna Country / Hobart
1800 030 688
Email · Website

Office of the Victorian Government Architect

Woi wurrung Country / Melbourne
(03) 9922 8312
Email · Website

Western Australia
Government Architect Western Australia

Whadjuk Country / Perth
(08) 6551 8002
Email · Website