The Prime Minister has revealed his new cabinet, which includes the appointment of a new minister responsible for the oversight of the financial services sector.
Following his re-election, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has selected his new cabinet, with notable changes to his outer ministry.
Several ministers have retained their portfolios, including Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Minister for Finance Mathias Corman, Assistant Minister for Finance Zed Seselja, and Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education Michaelia Cash.
However, changes to the ministry include the appointment of Michael Sukkar as Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing and the appointment of Victorian Senator Jane Hume as Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology.
Mr Sukkar replaces Stuart Robert as Assistant Treasurer, with Mr Robert appointed Minister for National Disability Insurance Scheme and Minister for Government Services.
Ms Hume's appointment marks the return of a ministry exclusively dedicated to the oversight of the financial services sector, with the portfolio scrapped following the cabinet reshuffle last August.
Following the Prime Minister’s cabinet announcement, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) released a statement in which it welcomed the new ministry.
ABA CEO Anna Bligh congratulated the appointees and said that the association looks forward to working with the government on its policy agenda, which includes changes to the Banking Code of Practice, the transition to open banking, and the execution of the government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme.
“Congratulations to Josh Frydenberg on his reappointment as Treasurer, to the Hon Michael Sukkar MP on his appointment as Assistant Treasurer and Senator Jane Hume on her appointment as Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology,” Ms Bligh said.
“The royal commission clearly set out a number of key changes to banking, particularly around the Banking Code of Practice, which the industry has been working tirelessly to implement over the past few months.
“There are a number of critical reforms apart from the royal commission, most notably open banking and comprehensive credit reporting, which the industry is eager to continue to work closely with the government to ensure their success.”
Ms Bligh added: “Australia’s banks hold a critical role in the national economy and stand ready to work with the Morrison government to ensure the economy keeps growing, from the financing of infrastructure projects to helping everyday people get ahead in life with first homes, cars and small-business lending.
“Ensuring lending remains straightforward and easy for Australian customers looking to buy a home or invest in their business is a top priority for the industry and remains a critical element in ensuring the economy is geared for growth.”
The Housing Industry Association (HIA) also endorsed the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint a minister exclusively responsible for housing, and particularly highlighted concerns regarding housing affordability.
“Housing is a national priority and the appointment of Michael Sukkar as Minister for Housing is recognition of this fact,” Graham Wolfe, HIA’s managing director, said.
“A well-housed population is more productive, cohesive and healthy.
“Independent research shows half of all renters believe they will never afford to buy a home even though over 90 per cent of renters would like to.”
Mr Wolfe concluded: “We look forward to working with Minister Sukkar to develop policies that improve the affordability, without increasing the tax burden, including the development of a new first home loan deposit scheme.”
The announcement of the government’s new cabinet coincided with the appointment of a new opposition leader.
Anthony Albanese has been elected unopposed to lead the federal Labor Party, replacing Bill Shorten following the opposition’s electoral defeat.
CEO of the Property Council of Australia Ken Morrison welcomed Mr Albanese’s appointment.
“We have worked closely with Mr Albanese over many years in both government and opposition across a variety of portfolios, and we welcome his election as leader,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Albanese has said that the party would review its policy agenda, which included proposed changes to negative gearing and the capital gains tax.
In response, Mr Morrison said: “We note that the new opposition leader has said that wealth creation must be central to Labor’s future agenda and that he would lead a review of the policies they took to the last election.
“We look forward to engaging with him and his team on this policy review.
“While there were many elements of Labor’s agenda we welcomed, its approach to negative gearing and capital gains tax was the wrong policy at the wrong time.
“The election result showed that Australians have rejected the risky changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax that Labor was proposing, and they should be put to rest once and for all as part of this policy review.”