COAG Leaders Retreat adds momentum to Federation debate
The decision by COAG at its meeting on 17 April to agree to a Leaders Retreat in July to consider Federation and Taxation reform signals the commitment of all parties to look seriously at options for reform in how services are delivered with the objective of improving outcomes for all Australians.
It also highlights that leaders of all governments are personally engaged in the process and want to see concrete results.
Following the COAG meeting I wrote to the Prime Minister expressing my support for the retreat and reinforcing local government’s commitment to continue to make a constructive contribution to the reform process.
The COAG meeting also focused on what should come out of any reform in broad terms and agreed that reforms should:
- deliver better services – recognising diversity as a strength of federation, it should be easier for people to receive, choose and access high quality services
- drive economic growth – encourage a productive and efficient economy supporting growth in the standard of living for all Australians
- be fair – all Australians should be able to receive, choose and access high quality services, regardless of personal circumstances, location or socio-economic background
- provide clear responsibility – people should be clear which level of government is responsible for services so they can hold them to account
- be durable – arrangements need to stand the test of time and be adaptable and flexible enough to accommodate changes required over time.
The members of COAG will be joined at the Leader Retreat by the Prime Minister’s Expert Advisory Panel on Reform of the Federation and I am pleased to note that Panel Member and former South Australian Premier, John Bannon, has accepted my invitation to address ALGA’s National General Assembly in June.
I encourage all councils to attend the Assembly, which will have a focus on Local Government’s role in the Federation, and to make sure you provide your comment to the Government on the Taxation Issues paper by the deadline of 1 June.