Senin, 12 Desember 2011

Welcome, Minister for Housing and Homelessness

Forget the horse-race journalism about which individuals are the 'winners and losers' in the Federal Government's ministerial reshuffle: the important thing is that housing is a winner, with the creation of a new, Cabinet-level portfolio of Housing and Homelessness.

Congratulations to the Minister for Housing and Homelessness, the Hon Robert McClelland.

A Housing Minister in Cabinet is something that housing advocates and their industry counterparts have asked for for years, so it's a very welcome development. (Since the last federal election, we've not had a 'Minister for Housing'; instead, we've had a Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness, who did double time on several other portfolio areas, while housing affordability was one of a hundred other responsibilities given to the hard-working Minister for Water.)

In creating the new portfolio, the Prime Minister stated that she did so 'conscious of the challenge of housing affordability' and sought 'to ensure a stronger focus on this issue in the future.' This statement of renewed priorities is very welcome too.

We might also note that the new Minister, having served previously as Attorney-General, has a legal mind – so we hope he advances the Commonwealth's involvement in tenancy law reform, as recommended by National Shelter and the National Association of Tenant Organisations in the 'Better Lease' report (that's a 1.8M pdf).

Welcome, Minister.