The decision by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to include a Minister for Cities and the Built Environment in his reshuffled cabinet has been welcomed by a number of property lobby groups.
Urban Taskforce Australia said the creation of the ministry, which has been filled by South Australian MP Jamie Briggs, should result in public transport and other amenities in Australia’s cities receiving the level of funding they need to adequately support their growing populations.
“[It’s] pleasing to see the appointment of Jaime Briggs as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment. The major role the Federal Government has in cities is in relation to the funding of urban infrastructure projects,” Urban Taskforce Australia chief executive officer Chris Johnson said.
“With Australian cities becoming more urban with a big swing to apartment living there is a need to ensure that public transport systems and other amenities are able to support the urban growth,” Johnson said.
“With the slowdown in the minerals sector it is the property development sector that is leading employment activity in Australia and the continuation of this momentum is important for future prosperity."
Ken Morrison, chief executive of the Property Council of Australia backed Johnson’s opinion.
"Make no mistake about it, this is a key economic appointment,” Morrison said.
"The move recognises that in the most urbanised country in the world Australia's productivity challenges are going to need to be met in our cities,” he said.
"With the property industry accounting for one ninth of Australia's GDP and employing 1.1 million people - more than mining and manufacturing combined - there is an increasing urban dimension to the economy.”
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) said the appointment signals the government acknowledges the importance of and challenges Australia’s cities are facing
“This appointment recognises not only the importance of our cities as the engine room of the nation’s productivity and prosperity, but also the central role the built environment plays in tackling many of Australia’s greatest challenges,” GBCA’s chief executive officer Romilly Madew said.
“Around 80 per cent of Australians live in our capital cities – and this is expected to grow as an additional 10 million people call our cities home over the next 40 years.”
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