New Cabinet met with optimism

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Following the Labor Party leadership spill that rocked Australia last week, the housing industry has labelled Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s newly announced appointments as an “opportunity” for housing.

The new-look Cabinet sees Brendan O'Connor appointed 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 retiring Senator Mark Arbib.

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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