Full Text Of COAG Communique

This is the full text of the Council of Australian Governments Communique issued after today’s meeting of first ministers in Canberra.

COAG press conference

Full text of the COAG Communique released following today’s meeting of federal, state and territory first ministers.

Council of Australian Governments Meeting – Communiqué

Canberra, 7 December 2012

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) held its 34th meeting in Canberra today, 20 years to the day since its first meeting in Perth in 1992. The Prime Minister, Premiers, Chief Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) participated in today’s meeting. The Leaders welcomed Northern Territory Chief Minister, the Hon Terry Mills MLA and President of ALGA, Felicity-ann Lewis to their first COAG meeting.

COAG also reiterated its commitment to focus its attention on policy reforms of national significance, and to keep its agenda as streamlined as possible.

National Disability Insurance Scheme

COAG reaffirmed its ongoing commitment to a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) by signing an intergovernmental agreement for its first stage. The agreement provides the foundation for all governments to work together to develop and implement the initial phase of the NDIS. The lessons learned in implementing the first stage will inform governments about proceeding to a full scheme by:

  • setting out shared roles and responsibilities for working collaboratively on the policy for a full scheme;
  • establishing the new Standing Council on Disability Reform, with representation from all jurisdictions, which – from 1 January 2013 – will be responsible for making decisions and formulating advice on matters arising from the launch and related to the transition to a full scheme; and
  • setting in place arrangements for the review and evaluation of the first stage which will inform the transition to a full scheme.

COAG noted the historic agreement between the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments to establish the full NDIS in New South Wales by 1 July 2018. The Commonwealth noted that it looks forward to concluding agreements on the same terms with all other governments.

In addition, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory signed bilateral agreements with the Commonwealth which confirm the operational and funding details for the roll-out of the NDIS in each launch site. From this time, under the launch arrangements, people with a disability, their families and carers will start to benefit from a fairer, more sustainable and equitable approach to supporting people with disability. Discussions on further launch sites are continuing. [Read more…]


Gillard Claims Progress On NDIS And Power Prices Following COAG Meeting

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has claimed progress on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and reform of the electricity market following today’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments.

Julia Gillard

Gillard and the state and territory leaders reached agreement to establish a new Standing Council on Disability Reform. Gillard said: “The Agreement provides the foundation for all governments to work together to develop and implement the first stage of these important reforms.”

On electricity market reform, COAG agreed to: rule changes to ensure no over-investment in networks; giving consumers a voice in the electricity market; a strengthened independent regulator; more choice for consumers; actions to reduce electricity peaks; and to provide for greater demand-side participation to make it easier for consumers to reduce demand, particularly at peak periods.

  • Read and download the COAG Communique
  • Listen to the COAG leaders’ press conference (46m)

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Earlier in the day, state and territory leaders spoke to the media before attending the COAG meeting.

  • Listen to NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell (7m)

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  • Listen to Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu (5m)

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  • Listen to Queensland Premier Campbell Newman (3m)

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  • Listen to Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills (2m)

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Text of media release from Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

COAG Progresses The National Disability Insurance Scheme

At the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra today, all governments took a major step towards giving people with disability the care and support they need over their lifetimes by signing an Intergovernmental Agreement for the first stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The Agreement provides the foundation for all governments to work together to develop and implement the first stage of these important reforms.

The Agreement also sets out shared roles and responsibilities for working collaboratively on the policy for a full scheme and establishing arrangements for the review and evaluation of the first stage.

The Agreement will be overseen by a new Standing Council on Disability Reform, which will have representation from Ministers and Treasurers from all jurisdictions. The Standing Council will be responsible for making decisions and formulating advice on matters arising from the launch and the transition to a full scheme. [Read more…]


John Brumby Appointed To Chair COAG Reform Council

The former Victorian Labor Premier, John Brumby, has been appointed to chair the COAG Reform Council for the next three years.

John BrumbyBrumby will replace businessman Paul McClintock when he takes up the position in January.

The seven-member council “assists the Council of Australian Governments with its reform agenda”.

It reports to COAG and provides reports on the performance of Australian governments in achieving benchmarks set out in national agreements and partnership arrangements.

A former teacher and teachers’ union official, Brumby, 59, held the federal seat of Bendigo for the ALP from 1983-90. He became Chief of Staff to federal minister Alan Griffiths before being elected to the Victorian Legislative Council in 1993. Later that year he was elected to the Legislative Assembly district of Broadmeadows, replacing the former Labor leader Jim Kennan.

As Opposition Leader, and with Julia Gillard as his Chief of Staff, Brumby lost the 1996 election and was replaced by Steve Bracks in 1999. After the ALP defeated Jeff Kennett’s coalition government later that year, Brumby became Finance Minister before taking over as Treasurer in May 2000. He held that position until Steve Bracks retired in July 2007. Brumby then served as Premier until November 2010 when he was narrowly defeated by Ted Baillieu.

Text of a media release from Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

New Chair Of COAG Reform Council

The Hon John Brumby has been appointed to chair the COAG Reform Council for the next three years.

The COAG Reform Council assists the Council of Australian Governments with its reform agenda. [Read more…]


Gillard And O’Farrell Reach Agreement On NDIS Funding In N.S.W.

The Federal and New South Wales governments have reached an agreement that will allow for the full roll out of a National Disability Insurance Scheme in NSW by July 2018.

Gillard-O'Farrell

Speaking at a joint press conference today, Prime Minister Gillard and Premier Barry O’Farrell announced that the Commonwealth will provide $3.2 billion in 2018, 51.4% of the funding needed. NSW will provide $3.32 billion.

The agreement will provide care to around 140,000 NSW residents with significant disability.

  • Listen to the Gillard-O’Farrell press conference (18m)

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Text of a media release from Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Agreement For Full Roll Out Of National Disability Insurance Scheme In NSW By July 2018

The Australian and New South Wales governments have today reached an historic agreement that will allow for the full roll out of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in New South Wales by July 2018.

The agreement will provide care and support to around 140,000 NSW residents with significant disability, and provide coverage in the event of disability to around one third of the Australian population.

It will provide peace of mind to people with a disability, their families and carers, and to the Australians who will unexpectedly face misfortune in the future.

It will give people with disability choice and control over the care and support they receive, rather than exposing them to the cruel lottery that currently exists, where care depends on a range of unpredictable factors.

Under the agreement reached today:

  • The Commonwealth will provide funding of $3.32 billion in 2018 – 51.4 per cent of the funding needed. This will cover the administration of the scheme and contribute to the cost of individual care and support packages and other supports for people with disability, their carers and their families.
  • New South Wales will provide more than $3.13 billion in 2018 – 48.6 per cent of the funding needed. This will contribute to the cost of individual packages and other supports for people with disability, their carers and their families.
  • The full scheme costs will be reviewed by the Productivity Commission in 2018-19 to inform COAG agreement on final scheme funding arrangements.

Today’s agreement builds on the agreement to launch in the Hunter region of NSW from the middle of next-year. Other eligible New South Wales residents will start entering the scheme in 2016, and by July 2018, all eligible residents will be covered by the NDIS. [Read more…]


Scott Morrison Comments On Asylum Seeker Conditions On Nauru

The Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison, held a press conference today to comment on his visit to the Nauru detention facility.

Scott Morrison

Morrison outlined his observations of the conditions at Nauru. Of the attitudes of asylum seekers, he said: “The other issue that was raised by those I met with in the facility is the extraordinary inconsistency they find between what is happening to people who were on the same boats at the same time or even after, who are now in Australia on bridging visas in the community receiving welfare. That is something that distresses them and obviously adds greater complication and greater pressure to an already challenging environment. Again that is for the government to explain because it is their policies, their half-hearted policies and their half-hearted approach which has continued to see record arrivals occur. The Coalition never said Nauru on its own was the solution to this; it was one of a series of measures which the government continues to refuse to put in place and we continue to have this mess.”

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young also spoke today on the asylum seeker issue.

  • Listen to Morrison’s press conference (21m)

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  • Listen to Hanson-Young’s media conference (4m)

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Transcript of Scott Morrison’s press conference in Sydney today.

MORRISON: Thank you for coming along today. I returned from Nauru last night after arriving there on Monday morning holding a series of meetings and inspections of the facilities on Nauru. During that time I had the opportunity to meet with the President of Nauru Sprent Dabwido on two occasions. I also had detailed meetings with the Minister for Justice, Dominic Tabuna and Matthew Batsiua is one of the backbenchers, previously a Minister for Justice, who’s been particularly and directly involved in the management of the setting up of facilities on behalf of the Nauruan government in Nauru. In addition, I met with members of the Opposition Baron Waqa and Aloysius Amwano as well all the other members of the Opposition and the Speaker of the Nauruan parliament, Ludwig Scotty. It’s not the first time I’ve had the opportunity to meet with all these individuals having been to Nauru on two other occasions previously where I had met with all of these gentlemen to discuss these very same issues. In addition to those meetings, I also had the opportunity to be briefed fully by all of the agencies and contractors who are running the facility at Nauru; Salvation Army, Transfield, Wilson Security, IHMS and of course DIAC. I also had the opportunity to meet with representatives of each of the various groups that are living within the facility on Nauru; Sri Lankans, Pakistanis, Afghans as well as the Iranians and Iraqis, some three hours plus meetings with those living within the facility. I then took a tour of the facility to see first hand all of the conditions there including the medical facilities, the treatment facilities both for mental health as well as general health, the recreational rooms, learning centres and so on. [Read more…]


Gillard Announces The End Of The World

Oh dear.

This is a video appearance by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Triple J’s End of the World Show.



2013 Election Advertising Underway Already: Greg Bickley In Bendigo

Federal Parliament has finished for the year but television advertising for the 2013 election has begun already.

This television advertisement is from the Liberal candidate for Bendigo, Greg Bickley. It is titled “Make things better.” You can watch an earlier advertisement on his YouTube page.

Bendigo is held for the ALP by Steve Gibbons on a two-party-preferred margin of 9.53%. Gibbons secured a 3.4% swing towards him in 2010 but he is not contesting the 2013 election. The new ALP candidate is Lisa Chesters.

  • Watch Bickley’s ad (30s)