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Council of Australian Governments meeting [5th, Canberra, 11 April 1995]: communique.



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  Council of Australian Governments Meeting 11 April 1995, Canberra

Communique Contents:

Introduction ●

Competition Policy ●

Health and Community Services ●

Public Housing ●

Centenary of Federation ●

Northern Territory Statehood ●

Treaties ●

Water Resource Policy and Regulatory Reform ●

Attachments:

Attachment A - Agreement to Implement the National Competition Policy and Related Reforms Between the Commonwealth of Australia, the State of New South Wales, the State of Victoria , the State of Queensland, the State of Western Australia, the State of South Australia, the State of Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, and, the Northern Territory of Australia

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Attachment B - Key Decisions on Health and Community Services ●

Attachment C - Centenary of Federation Working Group Terms of Reference ●

Attachment D - Northern Territory Statehood Working Group Terms of Reference ●

Attachment E - Water Resource Policy and Regulatory Reform ●

Introduction

The fifth meeting of the Council of Australian Governments completed today has been the most important since its establishment. In a spirit of co-operation Heads of Government have signed major agreements that will boost the competitiveness and growth prospects of the national economy and improve the effectiveness of public housing and health and community services so they better meet the needs of clients. As a result, the Australian federation will be economically stronger and more equitable as it approaches its centenary in 2001.

The Council supported the national competition policy reform package and signed agreements implementing these reforms. The reforms involve extending trade practices legislation to State and Local Government business enterprises and unincorporated businesses, providing access to essential facilities and encouraging competition in the business activities of governments and other sectors of the economy through a program of regulation review, enhanced prices oversight, application of competitive neutrality principles and procedures for structural reform of public monopolies.

In respect of public housing, the Council endorsed reforms that will establish a performance-based approach, focused on client outcomes and clearly delineated roles and responsibilities.

The Council also agreed to an action plan for fundamental reform in the delivery of health and community services, based on three streams of care - general, acute and co-ordinated - and a new outcome-based approach to planning and funding services.

The Communique sets out the agreed outcomes of the discussions on these and other issues.

Competition Policy

The Council agreed to a national competition policy legislative package providing for uniform protection of consumer and business rights and increased competition in all jurisdictions. The Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers signed two Inter-governmental Agreements to implement the package. The Council reaffirmed its commitment to continuing microeconomic reforms in key industries, and this was reflected in a third Agreement which also provides for

financial arrangements, including a series of competition payments.

The Council emphasised that the competition policy reform package would enhance the national economic interest by improving Australia's international competitiveness as well as enhancing the interests of Australian consumers. Consumers will benefit from lower prices for government services as a result of the implementation of the package over time.

The national competition policy package incorporates changes resulting from widespread public comment following release of the draft package in September 1994. These changes more clearly reflect the fact that competition policy is an integral part of the broader policy concerns of Governments and the community.

The Competition Policy Reform Bill was introduced into the Commonwealth Parliament on 29 March 1994. The two Inter-governmental Agreements which complete the package were tabled at the same time. Further amendments to the Bill were agreed by the Council and will be incorporated in the Bill following the Council meeting.

The Council agreed on a mechanism for voting on amendments to the Competition Code. The Commonwealth will have two votes and a casting vote with each of the other parties having a single vote. This will provide meaningful State and Territory participation in changes to the competitive conduct rules while maintaining a consistent national scheme.

The Council supported the Commonwealth's Competition Policy Reform Bill, with further amendments as agreed. The Bill provides for:

the revision of the competitive conduct rules of trade practices legislation and their extension to cover State and Local Government business enterprises and unincorporated businesses; ●

a legislated right to negotiate access to services provided by means of facilities of national significance; and ●

amendments to the Prices Surveillance Act to enable price surveillance of Government businesses and to formalise the prices monitoring functions. ●

The Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers signed three Inter-governmental Agreements: ●

the Conduct Code Agreement, which sets out the agreed basis for the extension of the Trade Practices Act and consultative processes on modifications to the competition law and appointments to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC);

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the Competition Principles Agreement, which establishes agreed principles on structural reform of public monopolies, competitive neutrality between the public and private sectors, prices oversight of utilities and other corporations with significant monopoly power, a regime to provide access to essential facilities and a program of review of legislation restricting competition. This Agreement also deals with consultative processes on appointments to the National Competition Council (NCC);

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appointments to the ACCC and NCC will be a matter of close consultation between the parties and will require the support of the Commonwealth and a majority of the parties; and ●

the National Competition Policy and Related Reforms Agreement which provides that the Commonwealth will maintain the real per capita guarantee of financial assistance grants to the States and Local Government on a rolling three year basis, and for further financial assistance to the States in the form of competition payments. The per capita element will have an estimated annual cost to the Commonwealth of $2.4 billion by 2005-2006. The Competition Payment will be provided in three tranches which, together with the per capita component of the FAGs pool, are dependent on States meeting agreed reform objectives as assessed by the NCC. The first tranche of the Competition Payment will commence in 1997-98 and will be $200 million in 1994-95 prices. The payment will be indexed annually to maintain its real value. The second and third tranches will commence in 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 respectively. The second tranche will be a payment of $400 million in 1994-95 prices and the third tranche, $600 million in 1994-95 prices. The Agreement is at Attachment A. The Competition Payments will be quarantined from assessment by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.

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The Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed to pass the required application legislation to apply the Competition Code within State and Territory jurisdictions within 12 months of the Competition Policy Reform Bill receiving the Royal Assent.

The ACCC will be responsible for the enforcement of the competition and consumer protection provisions of the Trade Practices Act, making determinations under the access regime, and prices surveillance. The NCC will exercise recommendatory powers on access and price surveillance issues and will have advisory powers on matters determined by governments, including compliance with the National Competition Policy and Related Reforms Agreement.

The Council agreed to the following timetable for implementation:

subject to passage in Commonwealth Parliament, the amendments to the competitive conduct rules

will commence in July 1995. The new institutional arrangements and the access regime will commence in the second half of 1995 or shortly thereafter; and

under the Competition Principles Agreement, Governments agreed to publish policy statements on competitive neutrality and the application of the Competition Principles Agreement to local government (in consultation with local government) by June 1996. Governments agreed to develop a timetable by June 1996 for the review and, where appropriate, reform of all existing legislation which restricts competition by year 2000.

Health and Community Services

The Council agreed to launch major longterm reforms of health and community services, with a view to providing services which meet people's needs better and which contain in-built incentives for the most effective use of funds.

The Council endorsed a paper prepared by officials recommending the directions, key elements and major milestones of reform. A copy is at Attachment B.

Australia's health and community services have significant strengths, including Medicare, which is the linchpin of the health system. However, all jurisdictions have a continued and legitimate joint interest in building a better system which:

meets people's needs better, by: -promoting more choice in the range of services and how they are delivered, ● providing better information to assist people to access and identify appropriate services, ● promoting continuity of care, including better coordination and packaging of services; and ●

delivers services efficiently and contains costs, by: -promoting planning by governments focused on outcomes and investment in prevention and early intervention, ●

planning and managing services as close as possible to the service delivery level, and ● providing incentives for best practice and substitution of more appropriate services which minimise gaps and get best value for money. ●

 

The key elements of reform are:

  Organisation of Services The boundaries of existing programs will be redrawn to group services together into three 'streams': general care, acute care and coordinated care;

 

Planning Arrangements New structures will be developed to enable governments to plan, fund and manage services on the basis of care outcomes rather than program inputs;

 

Funding Arrangements New arrangements will be developed to reflect better the variety of care and support needs of people; facilitate improved continuity of care; and support service reform; and

 

Data An improved, nationally consistent data base will be developed to refocus health and community services towards meeting people's needs; to allow more accurate monitoring and assessment of care needs; and to ensure that best practice approaches to treatment and support are provided.

The Council endorsed an Action Plan setting out a staged approach for the implementation of the reform agenda and involving consultation with the community before introduction of major change.

Health and Community Services Ministers will oversee work on the Action Plan and will provide an interim report to Heads of Government by September 1995, with a full report for consideration at the first Council meeting in 1996. This will provide the basis for considering the allocation of roles and responsibilities between levels of government.

Public Housing

The Council considered a report from Housing Ministers and agreed to major reforms to achieve better housing outcomes. This reform agenda is to be further developed and finalised during 1995.

In the short term, progress towards the new model of housing assistance will be achieved through the re-negotiation in 1995 of the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement.

The reforms will bring about a fundamental shift in roles and responsibilities entailing the Commonwealth accepting responsibility for income support and housing affordability and the States and Territories for housing services and tenancy and property management. The Commonwealth will rely more on monitoring outcomes to pursue agreed objectives, thereby giving the States and Territories more flexibility in delivering housing assistance.

The Council called for final proposals to be made available for consideration by Heads of Government before the final draft of the new Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement is considered by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments. Heads of Government will consider the proposals at their first meeting in 1996, including the issue of whether the next Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement is to be for 3 or 6 years.

Centenary of Federation

The Council established the Centenary of Federation Advisory Committee in 1993 to develop an options paper identifying possible goals and strategies to celebrate the centenary of Federation. Its report, 2001: A Report from Australia , was released in August 1994.

The Council has agreed to establish a working group of officials from all jurisdictions that will consider how to progress arrangements for the celebration of the centenary of Australia's Federation, including: centenary goals and themes; planning and implementation mechanisms; administrative arrangements; and funding. The group, to be chaired by the Commonwealth, will provide a report to the Council by 31 August 1995.

The Terms of Reference for the Working Group are at Attachment C.

Northern Territory Statehood

The Council noted the establishment of a working group of Commonwealth and Northern Territory officials to consider and report on issues relating to the possible grant of Statehood to the Northern Territory. The Commonwealth's participation is without any commitment as to the outcome. The Terms of Reference for the working group are at Attachment D. The working group is to forward its report to the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory by the end of 1995.

In the event a decision is made to proceed to Statehood, then the Commonwealth and Northern Territory will consult with the States regarding the Constitutional and legal implications of Statehood.

Treaties

Following the Leaders' Forum on 24 February 1995, the States and Territories forwarded an agreed position paper to the Commonwealth proposing reforms to the treaties process.

The Council has agreed that the Commonwealth-State Standing Committee on Treaties will discuss the proposals for reform to the treaties process made in the position paper of the States and Territories. The Standing Committee will report back to the next meeting of the Council on the States' and Territories' proposals with respect to:

  Commonwealth Parliamentary handling of treaties, in the context of the report of the Senate inquiry into possible Parliamentary involvement in the exercise of the external affairs power and the Government's response to it;

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recommendations for the Commonwealth-State consultation process; and ● recommendations for improvements to the information provided on treaties. ●

Water Resource Policy and Regulatory Reform

In the lead up to the meeting, the Council agreed to initiatives in the areas of water resource policy and regulatory reform.

The Council agreed to the public release of three documents:

  the Second Report of the Working Group on Water Resource Policy; ● the Report of the Expert Group on Asset Valuation Methods and Cost-Recovery Definitions for the Australian Water Industry; and ●

Principles and Guidelines for National Standard Setting and Regulatory Action. ●

Australian Heads of Government and the Prime Minister of New Zealand have also agreed to the release of a discussion paper on a proposal for the trans Tasman mutual recognition of standards for goods and occupations.

Attachment E contains descriptions of each of these documents, together with advice of how they can be obtained. Last updated May 1995

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  Attachment A

Agreement to Implement the National Competition Policy and Related Reforms between the Commonwealth of Australia, the State of New South Wales, the State of Victoria, the State of Queensland, the State of Western Australia, the State of South Australia, the State of Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territory of Australia.

Conditions for Payments to the States ●

Table: National Competition Policy Payments ●

Attachment - Conditions of Payments to the States ●

WHEREAS the Council of Australian Governments at its meeting in Canberra on 11 April 1995 agreed to a program for the implementation of the National Competition Policy and related reforms;

AND WHEREAS the Commonwealth and the States have agreed to financial arrangements in relation to the implementation of National Competition Policy (NCP) and related reforms;

THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA THE STATE OF NEW SOUTH WALES THE STATE OF VICTORIA THE STATE OF QUEENSLAND THE STATE OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA THE STATE OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA THE STATE OF TASMANIA THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY, AND THE NORTHERN TERRITORY OF AUSTRALIA agree as follows:

The provision of financial assistance by the Commonwealth is conditional on the States making satisfactory progress with the implementation of NCP and related reforms (as set out below). The Commonwealth's commitment is on the basis that the financial arrangements will need to be reviewed if Australia experiences a major deterioration in its economic circumstances.

The Commonwealth will maintain the real per capita guarantee of the FAGs pool on a rolling three year basis.

This will involve the Commonwealth extending the guarantee to 1997-98 now.

The per capita element will have an estimated annual cost to the Commonwealth of $2.4 billion by 2005-06 (see table).

Local government will benefit from the link between the State and Local Government FAGs pools.

There will also be three tranches of general purpose payments in the form of a series of Competition Payments.

The first tranche of Competition Payments will commence in July 1997 and will be made quarterly thereafter.

The annual payment from 1997-98 under the first tranche will be $200 million in 1994-95 prices.

It will be indexed annually to maintain its real value over time.

Commencement of the first tranche of the Competition Payments and the per capita guarantee is subject to the States meeting the conditions set out below.

The second and third tranches of the Competition Payments will commence in 1999-2000 and 2001-02. The annual Competition Payments will be $400 million, in 1994-95 prices, from 1999-2000 and $600 million, in 199495 prices, from 2001-2002. These payments will also be indexed in real terms.

The Competition Payments to be made to the States in relation to the implementation of National

Competition Policy (NCP) and related reforms will form a pool separate from the FAGs pool and be distributed to the States on a per capita basis. These Competition Payments will be quarantined from assessments by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.

If a State has not undertaken the required action within the specified time its share of the per capita component of the FAGs pool and of the Competition Payments pool will be retained by the Commonwealth.

Prior to 1 July 1997, 1 July 1999, and 1 July 2001 the National Competition Council will assess whether the conditions for payments to the States to commence on those dates have been met.

Conditions for Payments to the States

The first payments will be made in 1997-98 to each participating State as at the date of the payment and depending upon:

that State giving effect to the Competition Policy Intergovernmental Agreements and, in particular, meeting the deadlines prescribed therein, in relation to the review of regulations and competitive neutrality;

1.

effective implementation of all COAG agreements on: -electricity arrangements through the National Grid Management Council, ❍ the national framework for free and fair trade in gas; and ❍

2.

effective observance of road transport reforms. 3.

 

Payments under the second tranche of the Competition Payments will commence in 1999-2000 and be made to each participating State as at the date of the payment and depending upon:

that State continuing to give effect to the Competition Policy Intergovernmental Agreements, including meeting all deadlines; 1.

effective implementation of all COAG agreements on: -the establishment of a competitive national electricity market, ❍ the national framework for free and fair trade in gas, and ❍ the strategic framework for the efficient and sustainable reform of the Australian

water industry; and ❍

2.

effective observance of road transport reforms. 3.

 

Payments under the third tranche will commence in 2001-02 and be made to each participating State as at the date of the payment and depending on the State:

having given full effect to, and continues to observe fully, the Competition Policy Intergovernmental Agreements; and ●

having fully implemented, and continues to observe fully, all COAG agreements with regard to electricity, gas, water and road transport. ●

 

Full details of the conditions are set out in the attachment.

Signed for and on behalf of each of the Parties by:

The Honourable Paul John Keating MP (Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia) on the 11th day of April 1995) in the presence of:

The Honourable Robert John Carr MP (Premier of the State of New South Wales) on the 11th day of April 1995 in the presence of:

The Honourable Jeffrey Gibb Kennett MLA (Premier of the State of Victoria) on the 11th day of April 1995 in the presence of:

The Honourable Wayne Keith Goss MLA (Premier of the State of Queensland) on the 11th day of April 1995 in the presence of:

The Honourable Richard Fairfax Court MLA (Premier of Western Australia) on the 11th day of April 1995 in the presence of:

The Honourable Dean Craig Brown MP (Premier of the State of South Australia)

on the 11th day of April 1995 in the presence of:

The Honourable Raymond John Groom MHA (Premier of the State of Tasmania) on the 11th day of April 1995 in the presence of:

Kate Carnell MLA (Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory) on the 11th day of April 1995 in the presence of:

The Honourable Marshall Bruce Perron MLA (Chief Minister of the Northern Territory of Australia) on the 11th day of April 1995.

Attachment: Conditions of Payments to the States

(a) Per capita Guarantee and First Tranche of the Competition Payments (b) Second Tranche of the Competition Payments (c) Third Tranche of the Competition Payments

(a) Per capita Guarantee and First Tranche of the Competition Payments

Payment under the extension of the per capita guarantee and the first tranche will start in 1997-98 to each State and Territory that:

has signed the Competition Principles Agreement and the Conduct Code Agreement at the COAG meeting in April 1995; ●

in accordance with the Conduct Code Agreement, passed the required application legislation so that the Competition Code applied within that State or Territory jurisdiction by 12 months after the Commonwealth's Competition Policy Reform Bill received the Royal Assent;

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is a fully participating jurisdiction under the Competition Policy Reform Bill and a party to the Competition Principles Agreement at the time at which the payment is made (States and Territories must apply the Competition Code as a law of the State without making significant modifications to the Code in its application to persons within their legislative competence and must remain a party to both Competition Policy Intergovernmental Agreements);

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is meeting all its obligations under the Competition Principles Agreement, which include, but are not limited to: -when undertaking significant business activities or when corporatising their Government Business Enterprises, having imposed on these activities or enterprises

full government taxes or tax equivalent systems, debt guarantee fees directed towards offsetting the competitive advantages provided by government guarantees and those regulations to which private sector businesses are normally subject on an equivalent basis to the enterprise's private sector competitors,

❍

having published a policy statement on competitive neutrality by June 1996 and published the required annual reports on the implementation of the competitive neutrality principles,

❍

having developed a timetable by June 1996 for the review and, where appropriate, reform of all existing legislation which restricts competition by the year 2000, ❍

having published by June 1996 a statement specifying the application of the principles in the Competition Principles Agreement to local government activities and functions (this statement to be prepared in consultation with local government); and

❍

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(for relevant jurisdictions) has taken all measures necessary to implement an interim competitive National Electricity Market, as agreed at the July 1991 special Premiers' Conference, and subsequent COAG agreements, from 1 July 1995 or on such other date as agreed by the parties, including signing any necessary Heads of Agreement and agreeing to subscribe to the National Electricity Market Management Company and National Electricity Code Administrator;

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(for relevant jurisdictions) has implemented any arrangements agreed between the parties as necessary to introduce free and fair trading in gas between and within the States by 1 July 1996 or such other date as agreed between the parties, in keeping with the February 1994 COAG agreement; and

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effective observance of the agreed package of road transport reforms. ●

 

(b) Second Tranche of the Competition Payments

Payments under the second tranche will commence in 1999-2000, and be made each year thereafter to the States and Territories that have undertaken the following specified reforms by July 1999 in so far as they apply to them:

(for relevant jurisdictions) completion of the transition to a fully competitive National Electricity Market by 1 July 1999; ●

(for relevant jurisdictions) full implementation of free and fair trading in gas between and within the States including the phasing out of transitional arrangements in accordance with the schedule to be agreed between the parties;

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implementation of the strategic framework for the efficient and sustainable reform of the Australian water industry and the future processes as endorsed at the February 1994 COAG meeting and embodied in the Report of the Expert Group on Asset Valuation Methods and Cost-Recovery Definitions, February 1995;

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continuing to be a fully participating jurisdiction under the Competition Policy Reform Bill and a party to the Competition Principles Agreement at the time at which the payment is made;

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continued effective observance of the agreed package of road transport reforms; and ● meeting all obligations under the Competition Policy Intergovernmental Agreements. ●

 

(c) Third Tranche of the Competition Payments

Payment under the third tranche will commence in 2001-02 and be made each year thereafter to the States and Territories on the basis of each State's or Territory's progress on the implementation of the following reforms:

the extent to which each State and Territory has actually complied with the competition policy principles in the Competition Principles Agreement, including the progress made in reviewing, and where appropriate, reforming legislation that restricts competition;

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whether the State or Territory has remained a fully participating jurisdiction as defined in the Competition Policy Reform Bill; ●

the setting of national standards in accordance with the Principles and Guidelines for National Standard Setting and Regulatory Action and advice from the Office of Regulation Review on compliance with these principles and guidelines; and

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continued effective observance of reforms in electricity, gas, water and road transport. ●

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  Attachment B

Key Decisions on Health and Community Services

Preamble ●

The Rationale for Reform ●

Key Elements of Reform ●

Reform Milestones ●

Implementation of Reforms ●

Heads of Government ●

Appendix A ●

Appendix B - Outline of Reform Action Plan ●

1. Preamble

This paper provided a basis for key decisions made by Heads of Government at the meeting of the Council of Australian Government (COAG) in April 1995 to launch reforms of Australia's health and community services.

The reform agenda proposed builds on:

the approach to reform presented in the January 1995 Discussion Paper released by the COAG Task Force on Health and Community Services; and ●

the discussions with stakeholder groups conducted in February 1995, on the basis of the Discussion Paper approach. ●

The purpose of reform is to provide services which meet people's needs better and which contain inbuilt incentives for the most effective use of funds.

This paper describes the key elements and directions of reform. It is anticipated that the details of this framework would be sufficiently developed by the first COAG meeting in 1996 to enable decisions on the allocation of roles and responsibilities between levels of government.

2. The Rationale for Reform

Australia's health and community services have significant strengths, including Medicare, which is the linchpin of the health system.

However, there are a number of impediments which have affected the capacity of services to keep pace with changes in people's expectations and in the care environment:

Policy has focussed on service providers and institutions rather than on meeting people's needs. ●

People are not necessarily able to choose the services best suited to their needs due to lack of information on or access to alternative services. ●

There are many highly developed services which are poorly integrated and not linked well to one another. (There are over 60 discrete government programs, each with its own boundaries.)

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These impediments have produced a system which is often unfriendly and complex for the people who use it and inefficient for the governments which fund it. There is a need for systemic reform to the way health and community services are organised and funded to ensure both improved health gain and cost effectiveness for all governments.

The objectives of reform are to:

Meet people's needs better, by:

Promoting more choice in the range of services and how they are delivered. ❍ Providing better information to assist people access and identify appropriate services. ❍ Promoting continuity of care, including better coordination and packaging of services. ❍

●

Deliver services efficiently and contain costs, by: ●

Promoting planning by governments focussed on outcomes and investment in prevention and early intervention. ❍

Planning and managing services as close as possible to the service delivery level. ❍ Providing incentives for best practice and substitution of more appropriate services which minimise gaps and get best value for money. ❍

Reform should concentrate in the first instance on effective coordination at the interface between health and community services, which is often most problematic for people under current arrangements.

Services at this interface include: Medical (including hospital and postacute care); allied health; pharmaceuticals; residential care for older people and people with a disability; community support; and mental health.

Other services would be examined progressively with a view to ensuring there are appropriate linkages with related services.

3. Key Elements of Reform

The proposed reforms are based on all jurisdictions having a continued and legitimate joint interest in building a better system. Consistent with earlier principles agreed by COAG, the reforms should result in reduced overlap and duplication of effort and ensure the most appropriate and effective contribution by each level of government.

A reform framework, which provides a means of achieving the objectives identified above, has been developed by the COAG Working Group on Health and Community Services, comprising both central and line agencies.

The key elements of this framework are:

(i) Organisation of Services. System boundaries would be redrawn to group together services which focus in a coherent way on broad types of individual need. Services would be available across the following three 'streams' of care:

General Care: For care needs which are best managed by people themselves. It could also include health promotion and preventive care. ●

Acute Care: For care needs which are identified by a 'professional' and met by an 'episode' of treatment, often in a hospital setting and often involving three phases: preparation, delivery of a procedure and recovery.

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Coordinated Care: For care needs which are best met by a mix of services over an extended period and are difficult to meet through selfmanagement. ●

This arrangement provides for health promotion and preventive care to be included within the General Care stream, but further analysis might indicate that they should be constituted as a separate stream.

A table showing an indicative (but not necessarily final) allocation of care needs to the three care streams is at Appendix A.

(ii) Planning Arrangements. New structures would be developed to enable governments to plan, fund and manage the system and set priorities within it. These structures would include multilateral and bilateral agreements providing for:

Joint strategic planning and priority setting for health and related community services (for example, identifying and agreeing health care needs to be met by each stream). ●

Setting of targets or outcome standards based on assessment of needs and considerations of best practice. ●

Identification of funding levels at the broadest level and development of arrangements for managing within the amounts considered necessary to meet these targets or outcome standards.

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(iii) Funding Arrangements. New arrangements would be established to support service reform, promote costeffective care and provide incentives for appropriate substitution. These new arrangements would feature:

A progressive movement away from inputbased funding for discrete programs to outcome/output funding arrangements based around the three care streams. ●

The development of appropriate performance and outcome indicators to support the progressive move toward outcome/outputbased funding and broadbanding of programs, resulting in more flexibility.

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Progressive development of care management arrangements in the coordinated stream, including the capacity to purchase services where appropriate. It should be noted that a decision to receive coordinated care would be entirely voluntary, as would a decision to leave coordinated care.

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(iv) Data. A better data base is needed to: refocus health and community services toward meeting people's needs; to allow more accurate monitoring and assessment of care needs; and to ensure that best practice approaches to treatment and support are provided. This would be achieved through:

Agreement to an improved nationally consistent data collection as a basis for planning. ● Agreement to examine arrangements for collection of information for managing coordinated care, taking account of privacy issues. ●

(v) Implementation. The following key principles would underpin any implementation approach:

Reforms should be progressive: broadlybased reforms would need to be developed progressively over time, building on the existing system, with each element of reform a worthwhile step in its own right.

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Reforms should be flexible: the reforms may need to be developed in different ways in different States and regions. ●

Reforms should be trialed: Before major reforms are introduced acrosstheboard, they should be trialed in one or two jurisdictions. ●

Consultation with stakeholders: In developing the reforms in more detail, there would need to be a series of further consultations with key stakeholders. ●

During the implementation process, governments should also endeavour to ensure that any changes they make to elements of the health and related community services in their jurisdictions will be broadly consistent with the agreed framework.

4. Reform Milestones

Implementation of the reforms could be guided by the following 'milestones':

April 1995 COAG Heads of Government agree to:

Develop a detailed reform Action Plan, according to the outline at Appendix B. ●

Consider a progress report on the Action Plan by September 1995. ● Consider a full report to the first COAG meeting in 1996. ● Commence trials of aspects of the new care arrangements. ● Begin a process of consultation with key stakeholders on more detailed development of the

reforms. ●

October 1995 Based on the progress report, Heads of Government agree to:

An attribution of funding to care streams. ● Proposals on strategic policy directions, incorporating proposals for developing:

specific outcome objectives and standards; ❍ performance indicators; ❍ nationally consistent data; and ❍ strategies to meet objectives for each stream of care. ❍

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An outline of a 'model' multilateral agreement between Heads of Government. ●

1st COAG 1996 Based on the full report, Heads of Government agree to:

An allocation of roles and responsibilities between jurisdictions, with a plan for progressive implementation of new roles and responsibilities (the speed of implementation of the plan depending on progress elsewhere).

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An outline of a 'model' bilateral funding agreement consistent with the proposed allocation of roles and responsibilities. ●

Appropriate incentives and sanctions regarding meeting agreed outcome standards. ● Sign an interim multilateral agreement for reformed health and community services. ●

The following milestones are more indicative in nature:

Mid1996 Commencement of financial reporting on a care stream basis by all jurisdictions.

Agreement to arrangements for a comprehensive nationally consistent data base. ● Agreement on outcome objectives, standards and performance indicators for care streams. ●

Late1996 Governments enter into interim bilateral funding agreements, based on agreed allocation of roles and responsibilities.

Commencement of reporting on agreed outcome/output objectives and standards by all ●

jurisdictions.

Mid 1997 Major progress report on implementation of reforms provided to Heads of Government.

5. Implementation of Reforms

These reforms would be implemented in the following way:

The Health and Community Services Ministers Council would oversee the work on the Action Plan and provide a progress report to Heads of Government by September 1995, with a full report to be available for consideration at the first COAG meeting in 1996.

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The Ministerial Council would be supported in this work by the COAG Working Group on Health and Community Services. The Working Group would oversight a Task Force of CommonwealthState line agency officials to carry out work on the Action Plan.

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COAG Senior Officials would continue to be advised by the Working Group on progress and would also advise Health and Community Services Ministers of their views. ●

6. Heads of Government:

Endorsed the rationale for reform set out in Section 2. 1.

Endorsed the key elements of reform set out in Section 3. 2.

Endorsed the reform milestones and Action Plan set out in Section 4. 3.

Endorsed the Implementation Process set out in Section 5. 4.

APPENDIX A

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APPENDIX B - Outline of Reform Action Plan

A detailed action plan for progressive implementation of the reforms would be developed for further consideration by Heads of Government by the COAG Working Group on Health and Community Services, working under the oversight of the Health and Community Services Ministerial Council.

The Action Plan would include:

Proposals on strategic policy directions for health and community services, incorporating:

specific outcome objectives and standards; ❍ performance indicators; ❍ nationally consistent data; and ❍ strategies to meet objectives for each stream of care (building on the work already

undertaken in this area by the Health Ministers' Forum and AHMAC). ❍

specific principles for broad resource allocation between the streams of care in line with the longterm strategic policy direction and outcome objectives. ❍

1.

An outline of an interim 'model' multilateral agreement, incorporating (a) above. 2. A detailed allocation of funding to care streams. 3. Proposals for further trials of new care arrangements, including evaluation arrangements. 4. A detailed plan for further consultation with stakeholders. 5.

Proposals for appropriate incentives and sanctions regarding meeting agreed outcome standards. 6.

Proposals for the allocation of roles and responsibilities between jurisdictions. 7. Proposals for introducing outcome/output based funding for each care stream. 8. Proposals for a payments system, including consideration of data linkage issues. 9. An outline of an interim 'model' bilateral funding agreement incorporating (f), (g), (h) and

(i).

10.

This work would be undertaken within the following time frame:

An interim report by September 1995 covering (a) to (e) above. ● A full report for consideration at the first COAG in 1996. ●

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  Attachment C

Centenary of Federation Working Group Terms of Reference

The Council of Australian Governments agreed at its April 1995 meeting to commission a working group of officials to consider matters relating to the celebration of the centenary of Australia's Federation.

Consistent with the aim of achieving an agreed co-operative national approach on centenary-related issues, the Group may suggest proposals in relation to:

centenary goals and themes; 1. planning and implementation mechanisms; 2. administrative arrangements; and 3. funding. 4.

The Group will provide a report to the Council of Australian Governments by 31 August 1995.

In preparing its report, the Group will have regard to the report of the Council's Centenary of Federation Advisory Committee, 2001: A Report from Australia , and the Commonwealth Government's October 1994 report on centenary matters.

The Group will comprise a nominee of each jurisdiction. The Commonwealth nominee will chair the Group.

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  Attachment D

Northern Territory Statehood Working Group Terms of Reference

The working group will be required to consider the following matters relating to the possible grant of statehood to the Northern Territory:

  legal and Constitutional implications; 1. financial and economic implications; 2. territorial implications; 3.

environmental implications; 4. implications for the mining of uranium and the control of prescribed substances; 5. industrial relations implications; 6. implications for the indigenous residents of the Northern Territory; 7.

the level of popular support in the Northern Territory for a grant of statehood; and 8. any other matters of relevance. 9.

In preparing its report, the working group should consult with relevant interests, including Commonwealth and Northern Territory agencies, as it sees fit.

The working group will be chaired by the Commonwealth.

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  Attachment E

Water Resource Policy and Regulatory Reform

In the lead up to the meeting of the Council of Australian Governments, Heads of Government agreed to initiatives in the areas of water resource policy and regulatory reform.

The Council has agreed to the public release of the following documents:

  The Second Report of the Working Group on Water Resource Policy This report documents progress by jurisdictions in implementing the framework for reform of the Australian water industry outlined in the first report of the Working Group on Water Resource Policy endorsed by Heads of Government in February 1994.

●

The Report of the Expert Group on Asset Valuation Methods and Cost-Recovery Definitions for the Australian Water Industry The Expert Group Report on Asset Valuation Methods and Cost-Recovery Definitions expands on the strategic framework for the Australian water industry contained in the February 1994 Report of the Working Group on Water Resource Policy. The Expert Group report outlines preferred approaches to the valuation of assets, recognition of costs and pricing to ensure that water charges reflect the true economic (including environmental) costs of water service provision.

●

 

The Council has endorsed and agreed to the public release of the following document:

  Principles and Guidelines for National Standard Setting and Regulatory Action The Report provides a framework of 'best practice' principles and guidelines to be used by Ministerial Councils and other national (that is, intergovernmental) standard setting bodies when developing standards and regulations. The framework requires, among other things, public consultation on proposed standards, the preparation of Regulatory Impact Statements for all regulatory proposals to ensure there are net social and economic benefits from regulatory action.

●

 

As well, Australian Heads of Government and the Prime Minister of New Zealand have agreed to the release of a:

  Discussion Paper on a Proposal for the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition of Standards For Goods and Occupations The discussion paper outlines a proposed framework for a possible Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement (TTMRA) based on the principles underlying the existing Australian Mutual Recognition Agreement. Mutual recognition allows the free movement of goods and registered services providers between participating jurisdictions regardless of the existence of differential standards and regulations. The release of the discussion paper marks the commencement of a public consultation phase on the proposed TTMRA. Written submissions are due by 16 June 1995.

●

Copies of these reports are available from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet by calling Ron Perry (06-271 5960, water resource policy and the Expert Group) or Nicholas Scofield (06-271 5669, national standard setting and trans-Tasman mutual recognition). The discussion paper on trans-Tasman mutual recognition is also available free of charge from Commonwealth Government Books

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