Senator Payne takes on new portfolios

I look forward to getting to work in my new portfolio areas following the announcement of Tony Abbott’s new Coalition Shadow Ministry yesterday.

I will add the positions of Shadow Minister for Housing and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Development and Employment to my existing role as Shadow Minister for COAG (Council of Australian Governments) when parliament resumes later this month.

I thank Tony Abbott for the opportunity to continue in the Shadow Ministry and relish the challenge of holding the Gillard Government to account for its many election promises.

Housing affordability in Australia is extremely poor by international standards and is only getting worse. Yet development in key growth areas such as western Sydney is being stifled by bureaucratic obstacles and red tape under State and Federal Labor governments. This has to change.

I am also no stranger to the area of Indigenous policy, having served as Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous Affairs between September 2008 and December 2009.

I look forward to holding the government to account in this area and developing policies that support Indigenous Australians to participate in our economy and break the welfare cycle.

I will continue as Shadow Minister for COAG, a role I have held since December 2009.

The change of Labor leader did nothing to improve the way COAG works. It remains little more than a dumping ground for failed policies and a venue for photo opportunities with State Premiers. The promise of ‘cooperative Federalism’ is now just a distant memory.