Today the National Cabinet met for the first time in a fortnight to discuss learnings from the each of the States and Territories as they begin to ease restrictions.
Every State and Territory has now moved to Stage 1 of the three-step plan, however, it’s too soon to understand what the health impact of the easing has been.
It may be another two weeks before we have hard data on the health implications. At this rate, we appear to be on track to move to Stage 2 in June but this will be influenced by the health data.
A new congestion busting process
The Prime Minister said that the States, Territories and Commonwealth have met more in the last two months than they have in the last 10 years. There is a lot of positive momentum that the government would like to ensure continues.
COAG has been replaced by the National Cabinet as part of the National Federation Reform agenda. The overarching goal for National Cabinet will be job making and dealing with issues and responsibilities between States, Territories and the Commonwealth. During the pandemic, National Cabinet will meet every fortnight and then four times a year going forward.
In addition, the State, Territory and Federal Treasurers will work more closely with each other. National funding agreements will be moved from individual portfolios to sit with Treasury. The first task of the Treasurers under this new model is to review, consolidate and rationalise funding agreements as a priority.
Commonwealth invests $131.4b in the demand-driven public hospital funding model
The Prime Minister announced the investment of an estimated $131.4b in a demand-driven public hospital funding model to improve health outcomes for all Australians to ensure the sustainability of our health system now and into the future.
This new agreement provides an additional $34.4b in funding to public hospitals from 1 July 2020. This is in addition to the over $8b in investment made by the Commonwealth during the COVID-19 response.
As part of the agreement, the Commonwealth guarantees the funding contribution for public hospitals over the next five years.
JobKeeper and JobSeeker
A question from the floor was around the Government’s intention to extend JobKeeper and JobSeeker. The Prime Minister said there are a number of measures in place to help support the economy and jobs – it’s not just JobKeeper and JobSeeker – and there will be a review of how the two programs are going next month.
When asked about domestic tourism, the Prime Minister said that interstate tourism wasn’t meant to be an option until Stage 3 which is planned in July. However, freight and business travel between States and Territories has not been affected.
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