Prime Minister Scott Morrison scraps Council of Australian Governments for 'fair dinkum' National Cabinet
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says COAG will be disbanded in favour of National Cabinet continuing beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
Speaking after a meeting of State, Territory and Federal Leaders this morning Mr Morrison said there would be better outcomes for the nation as a result of the Council of Australian Government’s being scrapped.
Mr Morrison said in the months ahead National Cabinet would be on a fortnightly basis but then would move to monthly after that.
He said State, Territory and Federal Leaders would seek to meet in person twice a year.
Mr Morrison said given National Cabinet was bound by the rules of cabinet which prevented any leaking, he believed this would be fundamental to its success.
“Having the groups operate like a fair-dinkum cabinet has been really important. We're all members of cabinet and we all understand what the rules are and I don't think that has been the MO for how COAG has operated and I think that's a really big change,” he said.
“The National Cabinet will continue to work with a laser-like mission focus on creating jobs as we come out of the COVID crisis and we work into the years into the future. The National Cabinet will work together, with what is known as the council and federal financial relations, that is basically the meeting of treasurers,” Mr Morrison said.
He said the issues of women’s safety and domestic violence would still be a priority item on the National Cabinet agenda.
“It will remain part of the national agenda, as will Indigenous affairs, in particular, the work that is being done on closing the gap and the closing the gap priorities being worked together with the Indigenous peak groups as part of the closing the gap process,” Mr Morrison said.
He said once a year, the National Cabinet would also meet together with the Treasurers as well as the Australian Local Government Association in a new council, which is focused on national federation reform.
Mr Morrison said the nation is “on track” to fully reopen the economy following the first meeting of National Cabinet in two weeks.
He announced that all States and Territories had signed up to a five-year hospital agreement to guarantee the “essentials they rely on”.
“Today, an agreement that will see an investment by the Commonwealth of an estimated $131.4 billion be made in a demand-driven public-hospital funding model to improve health outcomes for all Australians to health system now and into the future,” Mr Morrison said.
The new 20-25 national health reform agreement provides an additional $34.4 billion in funding to public hospitals from July 1 this year.”
As for the progress on tackling COVID-19, Mr Morrison said: “we're on track, and we're making progress, far sooner than we could have ever imagined several months ago when National Cabinet was first formed.”
He said it would be a “week or two yet” to know if the measures had struck the right balance in preventing the spread of coronavirus.
“It is still too early to make a judgement on what the health results of that are it will be a week or two before we can see Australians move out of their homes, go back into work their homes, go back into work places and slowly go into places and into playgrounds and schools are all these things they have been looking these things they have been looking forward to doing for so long,” he said.
Mr Morrison warned “the risk remains great” for Australians to contract the virus.
“You only need to look at countries as sophisticated as ours, as developed as ours, with health systems as strong as ours, who have death rates 100 times of what has occurred in Australia. So, we would be foolish to think that we were immune or that we are immune,” he said.