Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the appointment of Michael Sukkar as assistant treasurer and minister for housing.

Sukkar has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2013 and served as the assistant minister to the treasurer between January 2017, and August 2018, when he came back to the backbench.

The role is important for the growth of Australia’s cities, according to the Urban Taskforce Australia. “Clearly, housing supply is at a critical stage in Australia due to falling prices and slowing housing, yet our population growth is significant. The election of the Morrison government has already returned some confidence to the housing industry, and it is important that this continues,” said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson.

Johnson said that there are recent initiatives leading to positive developments in the housing industry. These include the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority’s plan to reduce the constraints on home loans and the likely cut in interest rate.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) also welcomed Sukkar’s appointment. “Housing is a national priority, and the appointment of Michael Sukkar as minister for housing is recognition of this fact,” said Graham Wolfe, HIA’s managing director. “A well-housed population is more productive, cohesive, and healthy.”

Putting the housing responsibility on the assistant treasurer properly reflects the $130bn contribution that residential building construction makes to the Australian economy and employment nationwide,  HIA said. 

Adrian Kelly, the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) president, put the spotlight on Sukkar's portfolio.

“REIA has long advocated for housing being a ministerial responsibility," he said. “This appointment recognises the importance that the property sector plays in the economy as well as in policy with taxation of property and housing affordability being at the forefront of public policy debate.”

Sukkar will be joined in the cabinet by Member for Aston Alan Tudge, who was named as the new minister for cities, urban infrastructure and population.