A number of organisations have praised the appointment of Taylor Martin as the Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter and Cost of Living.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian named the Liberal Upper House MP on Tuesday 16 February to the role, which has been vacant for more than two years.
The Hunter Business Chamber (HBC) and Housing Industry Association (HIA) both welcomed the reappointment of the position, last held by Catherine Cusack who was sacked after she crossed the floor and voted against a government land management bill.
“It’s important for the region to be represented in the NSW Government’s ministry team,” HBC CEO Bob Hawes said.
“We actually wrote to the Premier in December requesting the reinstatement of the then-vacant role.
“The Hunter has enjoyed the representation of a dedicated Minister or Parliamentary Secretary for approximately 30 years and it’s been a vital conduit to government and advocate on regional issues.
“So, we place a high value on the position.”
HIA Hunter executive director Craig Jennion said the appointment of Mr Martin came at a critical time for the region.
“While we’re forecasting residential building activity to remain solid on the back of low interest rates, rising house prices and a demographic shift in demand towards regional area, when individual council areas are examined there is unfortunately a patchwork of results across the Hunter,” he explained.
“Combined this with a perception that gains in dwelling prices and slow wage growth have caused housing affordability to deteriorate we have the potential for waning consumer confidence.
“There is the very real potential for this to be magnified by other factors, such as the sudden increase in demand for land as a result of the Australian Government HomeBuilder stimulus creating a slowdown in the residential construction sector.
“It’s clear the message that the new Parliamentary Secretary needs to return to the Berejiklian cabinet is that the continued success of the Hunter as an economic powerhouse will only occur with the implementation of efficient planning policies, a steady flow of registered land and a consideration by all levels of government that anything that delays the efficient supplying of housing increases costs.
“While I believe the very healthy levels of activity the residential sector has been experiencing locally will continue in 2021, I do hold concerns that a shortage of registered land may change the longer-term picture of the sector.
“We look forward to Mr Martin providing an additional voice to the NSW Government about the performance of the region.”
The new appointee admitted he was grateful for the opportunity to be a voice for the Hunter within the state government.
“Since entering parliament in 2017 as the Liberal Party’s provincial MLC for the Hunter and Central Coast, I have spoken up on behalf of the region,” Mr Martin said.
“I’ll continue to work with locals to ensure their unique issues and challenges are heard.
“The role also provides additional opportunities for the Hunter to be represented within the NSW Government.
“It’s been working to help unlock the Hunter’s potential as it continues its long-term transformation from steel city to smart city.
“Between 2016 and 2041, there will be an additional 137,000 people calling the beautiful region home.
“This is a challenge that requires all levels of government to work together to deliver for the Hunter’s future.”