Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has moved to simplify ministerial responsibilities by announcing streamlined portfolios. Joe Hockey as Treasurer and Arthur Sinodinos as Assistant Treasurer will oversee the superannuation and financial services industry, which would lose its own portfolio and fall again under Treasury. The superannuation industry is reported to be happy at the appointment of Arthur Sinodinos in charge of superannuation, as his appointment suggests that superannuation reform is not a focus of the new government.
Senator Mathias Cormann has been promoted to Cabinet as Finance Minister — a role which will limit his involvement with the financial services industry except with respect to spending and revenue issues such as the impact of changes to concessional contribution caps. Treasurer, Joe Hockey, will have over-arching responsibility for the financial services industry, with the Assistant Treasurer, Senator Arthur Sinodinos, likely to have specific carriage of most of the broad financial services policy issues. The new Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Gold Coast Liberal MP, Steve Ciobo, is expected to have a closer focus on the tax elements of the portfolio.
The ministerial arrangements under the Treasury portfolio have been broadly welcomed by the financial services industry, with major industry organisations welcoming the experience of Hockey, Sinodinos, Cormann, and the background of Ciobo as a senior consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The exact powers of each portfolio are expected to be specified tomorrow, when the cabinet swears in and the new government releases the portfolio’s administrative arrangements.