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After the Liberal and National Coalition’s three governing terms in NSW, the Labor party, led by Mr Chris Minns, secured a minority government following the recent NSW State Election.
Locally all HIA Hunter region seats were retained by the sitting parties, with ten seats held by Labor, two by the Nationals, one by Liberal and an independent. The only change in MPs was the election of Tanya Thompson, replacing Stephen Bromhead who passed away before the election.
Six HIA Hunter region MPs have been announced as NSW Cabinet Ministers and will hold fourteen ministerial positions between them. A further two will hold three Parliamentary Secretary positions, and Independent Greg Piper was supported as speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
Pleasingly the new government has decided to return to cabinet the positions of Minister for the Central Coast and Minister for the Hunter. David Harris, the Member for Wyong and Tim Crakanthorp, the Member for Newcastle, will hold these appointments. Tim Crakanthorp will also hold the notable portfolio of Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, while Jenny Aitchison, the Member for Maitland, is the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads.
HIA will continue to advocate that the incoming NSW Government address housing affordability by increasing housing supply in line with HIA’s NSW Election Imperatives.
The policy imperatives outlined the importance of targeting supply, increasing the speed of delivery, making it easier for businesses to operate and reducing the regulatory burden on a sector that has faced many challenges over recent years.
As they commence their first term in over twelve years, the Labor Party will encounter a housing sector facing many stresses, the most substantial of which result in many new home buyers withdrawing from the market.
This is driven by tighter access to finance, a higher cash rate and the scarcity of residential land that is evident by local surging land prices. I remain concerned that the impact of land supply constraints will push demand towards the established housing market. This, combined with the effects of increasing international migration, will put greater pressure on the relatively affordable housing for which the Hunter has been known.
HIA has commenced meetings and correspondence with the new ministry, the crossbench, and the opposition. With over a quarter of the cabinet consisting of HIA Hunter based MPs, there is the potential for a greater focus on our region if Labor MPs work as an alliance to advocate not just for their electorate but for the broader region.
If they can do this, the diverse needs and potential of a region home to over 1.2 million people, including the state’s second largest urban centre and acknowledged as the leading regional economy nationally, can only continue to flourish.