The housing industry has hailed Prime Minister Julia Gillard's cabinet reshuffle as a 'unique opportunity' for housing.
The new-look Cabinet announced in the wake of last week's leadership spill sees the appointment of Brendan O'Connor as Minister for Housing and the Homeless, as well as Minister for Small Business. O'Connor replaces sacked Kevin Rudd supporter Robert McClelland in the housing role, and takes over the small business portfolio from Senator Mark Arbib, who announced his surprise retirement from both the ministry and Parliament last week.
In spite of the drama surrounding the roles, Housing Industry Association chief executive Graham Wolfe said the housing and small business portfolios are a natural fit.
"The Australian housing industry is made up of around 85% small business. By combining these two portfolios, Mr. O'Connor has the unique opportunity to promote much needed policy initiatives and programs across small business and residential building," Wolfe said.
Wolfe praised Gillard's move to keep the housing portfolio in cabinet, and the decision to elevate the small business portfolio to cabinet.
"The housing industry puts around 400,000 Australians into new homes every year and creates thousands of new jobs. Housing is a staple of life that drives both economic and social outcomes. Yet Australia is facing both a housing shortage and affordability challenge, which needs urgent attention. We look forward to meeting with Mr O’Connor to discuss the many pressing policy areas that need to be addressed to revitalise the residential housing industry," Wolfe said.
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