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2 key housing appointments confirmed in Victorian government reshuffle

Dan Andrews’ Labor Party will be bringing a new-look cabinet to the next Victorian election, having named a new Minister of Housing and a new Minister for Planning over the weekend.

With the revelation that a number of senior ministers are set to resign at the next election, the outcome of a parliamentary Labor Party meeting has unveiled a flurry of changes to its leadership.

Former planning and housing minister Richmond MP Richard Wynne first revealed he would not be contesting the next Victorian election – which is set to take place in November 2022 – in November of last year.

That announcement, alongside the resignation of a number of senior ministers in recent days, is what led to the Labor Party’s caucus meeting being called for last Saturday morning (25 June).

At that meeting, it was decided that Danny Pearson would become Victoria’s Minister for Housing, while member for Pascoe Vale Lizzie Blandthorn would become the state’s new Minister for Planning.

With ministers having been sworn into their new roles on Monday, 27 June, Mr Pearson adds to his current responsibilities of Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Government Services and Minister for Regulatory Reform.

Ms Blandthorn takes on the planning portfolio alongside her appointment as leader of the House in the Legislative Assembly.

Sheena Watt will also take on the role of parliamentary secretary for housing.

Elsewhere, Melissa Horne has added Minister for Local Government and Minister for Suburban Development to her title, adding to her current responsibilities for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation and Ports and Freight.

Consumer Affairs is currently conducting a widespread review of real estate practices in the state, as it looks to reform the state’s processes around property transactions.

The reshuffle has also catapulted Jacinta Allan into the spotlight, having been endorsed and standing unopposed as Victoria’s Deputy Premier.

A statement from the Premier’s office said that the new appointments, which cover portfolios including child protection and family services, disability, ageing and carers, tourism, sport, creative industries, water, regional development and equality, amongst others, “bring the total number of women in the Victorian cabinet to 14 – more than any other Australian jurisdiction”.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria chief executive Quentin Kilian recently noted that “each year the Victorian government derives up to $14 billion in revenue from the property sector – nearly half of all taxation revenue raised”. 

While the policy agendas of these new ministers remain to be seen, it’s likely they will see increased pressure for the reform of stamp duty in Victoria – a process that has now kicked off (albeit in a limited way) across the border in NSW.

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