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Turnbull defends cities role after reshuffle


Malcolm Turnbull has rejected suggestions he has downgraded cities policy in his ministry reshuffle.

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The prime minister has appointed rural NSW MP Angus Taylor as the minister assisting him on cities policy.

Taylor replaces South Australian Jamie Briggs, who was Minister for Cities and the Built Environment until he resigned over an incident in a Hong Kong bar.

Turnbull has made improving cities a key platform of his economic agenda.

Asked to explain the decision, Turnbull said the ministry had “in reality been promoted”.

“What I’ve done is I’m moving the cities unit which has been in the Department of Environment … into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet,” Turnbull said in Townsville on Monday.

“Because it has a whole-of-government impact, it really needs to be in the central agency, the most important agency in the government, which is of course the prime minister’s own department.”

Turnbull said Taylor, an economist and Rhodes Scholar, had “one of the biggest brains in the room”.


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