With the success of the National Cabinet, it is worthwhile asking how we can continue to improve state-Federal relations when the immediate threat of COVID-19 has passed.
Jarrod Ball, CEDA Chief Economist
The success of the National Cabinet has put an end to decades of unproductive state-Federal relations and provided a model for a more effective Federation. As we begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is worthwhile asking how we can continue to improve state-Federal relations when the immediate threat has passed and some of the goals that a newly strengthened Federation should aim to achieve.
Over the last decade, by most accounts, the effectiveness of Commonwealth-state relations in Australia through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has been dire. Commonwealth-state relations have been transformed during COVID-19 with broad consensus that the performance of National Cabinet has underpinned the effectiveness of Australia’s response to both the health and economic crisis.
This report explores four key areas:
Having established an effective forum for Commonwealth-state relations, National Cabinet needs to be given the best chance of succeeding for the longer term. There are critical risks ahead that threaten to derail National Cabinet.
Definitive action needs to be taken to ensure the long-lasting success of the National Cabinet. In the report, CEDA proposes five steps that National Cabinet should take to lock in the recent improvements to state-Federal relations.
4. A fit for purpose agenda of work
CEDA has analysed the National Cabinet's priorities as described in the performance reporting dashboard and assessed them against a series of criteria to measure how much they should be prioritised. CEDA has also identified new priority areas, such as social housing investment, in which the National Cabinet could drive lasting change.
Australia's Federation: Post-pandemic Playbook by Jarrod Ball