11 October 2019

Council on Federal Financial Relations meeting

Commonwealth, state and territory treasurers have agreed to a program of work to boost the nation’s productivity and to develop actionable items in the areas of transport, health, skills and environmental regulation.

The CFFR also reconfirmed the importance of continuing to work together on the areas outlined in the Productivity Commission’s Shifting the Dial report following a briefing by Productivity Commission Chair Michael Brennan. We also agreed that the Productivity Commission would prepare case studies on productivity reform within Australia to encourage knowledge sharing.

Recognising CFFR’s role as the key economic body in Commonwealth-State relations, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) asked CFFR to consider significant national funding agreements. This will ensure the agreements that underpin the services that matter most to Australians are reviewed with an economic lens prior to COAG consideration. At this meeting, particular attention was given to future funding arrangements for the health system and the implementation of the NDIS.

The Commonwealth’s record $100 billion pipeline over the next ten years, combined with the state and territory programs, is delivering a significant number of land transport infrastructure projects which will create jobs and further support Australia’s productivity by busting congestion and better connecting our cities and regions. CFFR discussed the Prime Minister’s offer to work with state and territory first ministers on the potential infrastructure projects that could be brought forward.

It was agreed that HoTs would work together to identify ways to address capacity constraints impacting on the delivery of projects. It is critical that the delivery of infrastructure projects is managed to avoid the risk of delays and cost over-runs to ensure that Australia’s investment in infrastructure contributes to improved productivity growth and the living standards of Australians.

Treasurers also today agreed to progress a National Population and Planning Framework for consideration by leaders. This Framework is the first of its kind in Australia and represents another important step in ensuring all levels of government come together to better plan for Australia’s future population. The Framework supports the Government’s Population Plan which maintains the liveability of our big cities while supporting the growth of our smaller cities and regions.

The Commonwealth thanks the states and territories for their collaboration on these important issues and looks forward to continuing to work together to achieve strong economic outcomes for Australia.