Malcolm Turnbull has announced a larger-than-expected ministry reshuffle, setting the course for stable government, but revealing subtle shifts in emphasis and leaving housing affordability off the agenda.
Josh Frydenberg’s move from resources and energy to environment and energy, link the environment and energy ministries for the first time. Matt Canavan, a National, has taken over the resources ministry.
The Green Building Council of Australia has welcomed the decision to bind environment and energy, saying it will help Australia move to being a zero-carbon economy.
“When a quarter of our nation’s emissions come from our buildings, bringing environment and energy together makes smart sense,” said Romily Madew, CEO of GBCA.
Ken Morrison, CEO Property Council of Australia, said the new ministry is well positioned to deal with sustainability, urban infrastructure and cities.
“The decision to bring together environment and energy has many advantages. Twenty three per cent of Australia’s emissions are from the built environment and this is where energy efficiency is a key focus,” he said.
Morrison also supports Paul Fletcher’s move to Minister for Urban Infrastructure. Fletcher will be responsible for delivering ‘City Deal’ projects such as Western Sydney airport.
“We welcome Minister Paul Fletcher’s new focus on urban infrastructure which fits well alongside the Prime Minister’s cities agenda,” said Morrison.
“The bulk of Australia’s population growth will occur in our national cities and this is a key challenge for our national government,” he said.
Angus Taylor remains the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation.
Madew said the GBCA will work with Fletcher and Taylor to ensure sustainability is embedded in city planning.
“We are committed to ensuring sustainability is embedded in the city-building projects outlined during the election campaign,” said Madew.
Fiona Nash adds local government to her regional development role. The Local Government Minister looks after 500 mayors, and harnessing them with regional development seems logical.
The Property Council of Australia was disappointed by the absence of measures tackling housing affordability.
“A senior minister needs to be given carriage of finding solutions for housing affordability. Neither the Government nor the Opposition is yet to demonstrate that it has a housing affordability policy or answers to the continued pressures in this area,” said Morrison.