Operating within the Ministry of Environment, the Hon. Jamie Briggs MP will now be the nation’s first Minister for Cities and the Built Environment. Mr Turnbull said cities had been overlooked in the past, and as he announced his new cabinet, he said there would be a renewed focus on liveable, efficient and productive cities within Australia.

Brian Beecroft, Chief Executive Officer of the Timber Trade Industrial Association (TTIA), congratulated the new government on the appointment, saying it was “undoubtedly, an exciting and innovative step forward”.

“Importantly, it recognises the need for sustainable building products in improving the quality of our cities, and no material is more sustainable or environmentally friendly than Australian timber.

“We intend to use this announcement to further promote the products of our members, whether they are merchants, sawmillers, fabricators, manufacturers and harvesting operators, to this government,” Mr Beecroft said.

The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council also congratulated the Prime Minister on the appointment of Mr Briggs, as well as the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), who said the appointment will help Australia make the most of its “productivity powerhouses”.

Mr Turnbull said Mr Briggs will work alongside Environment Minister Greg Hunt to develop a new Australian Government agenda for cities, in cooperation with states, local government and urban communities.

“Making sure that Australia is a wonderful place to live in, and that our cities and indeed our regional centres are wonderful places to live, is an absolute key priority of every level of Government,” Mr Turnbull added.

Mr Beecroft said that the new appointment was an opportunity for the timber industry to be promoted as the product of choice for future construction innovations within our major cities.

“It has been apparent for far too long that non-timber products with poor environmental and sustainable credentials have formed the basis of much of the construction in our cities.

“It’s time for a fresh approach, and this government initiative appears to recognise this and is a great first step. This announcement offers enormous opportunities for our industry to demonstrate the overall benefits of timber construction and we look forward to highlighting these opportunities to the minister in the future.”