Scott Morrison scraps COAG, creates national cabinet

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy are speaking now from Canberra following the national cabinet meeting.

Live updates below.

 

 

Morrison announces state and territory co-ordination reform

Mr Morrison has announced that the co-ordination between federal, state and territories will be dissolved after the national success of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Co-ordination from leaders ran regularly as part of the long-running Council of Australian Governments, but will now be replaced with monthly meetings to continue recovery strategies from the pandemic. 

"COAG is no more. It will be replaced by a completely new system and that new system is focused on the success that has been yielded by the operation of the National Cabinet," Mr Morrison said.

This reform comes after criticism from the likes of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who said that such meeting were too bureaucratic and were bogged down in red tape.

The PM announced that new meeting would be held through teleconferenicing with a reduced number of leaders present and higher security of information and documents. 

PM: State borders should open 'as soon as possible'

He said leisure-based interstate travel was nit expected until stage three of the easing of restrictions, due for July.

But he said he wanted borders to open "as soon as possible".

"Whether you have a border or you don't have a border, formally put in place, step three of the plan, which was expected to be in place in July, is when that was expected to be the case," he said.

"Now, I note that all states and territories are working towards that, whether they have borders or not. But the truth is, and I'm sure, and this was discussed today, that it's preferable to be able to be in a situation where you don't have borders as soon as possible because obviously, that means that the tourism industries in particular and particularly with school holidays coming up, might be able to benefit from that travel.

"So, I think we've got to keep the issue in perspective."

CMO Murphy: Only two people on stockpiled ventilators

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy:

"An interesting statistic, there are only two people left on ventilators in Australia, a long way short of the 7,000 potential that we catered for in the worse-case scenario.

"We are doing 30,000 tests a day with a very low positivity rate of 0.05 per cent at the moment.

"We would still like to do more tests. We would like every person with an acute respiratory problem, cough, cold, to get tested. It is the way to track the virus."

PM: Jobs creation is the main focus

"We want to stream line those endless meetings so we can bring it back to one focus: Creating jobs out of the pack back of this crisis and ensuring the federation is focused on that job just like we have been focused as a National Cabinet on managing the country through our federation through this national crisis of COVID-19.

"So, that is an exciting new agenda for our federation.

"Federation reform issues and responsibilities between states and territories and the Commonwealth will be considered at the National Cabinet because we think that gives Australians confidence.

"And this really is a job of rebuilding confidence, right across the country. And that includes confidence in our governance and making sure that all governments are works closely together and in particular that we're doing so to get Australians back into work."

 

PM announces major change to state and federal cooperation

"COAG is no more," the prime minister says of the council of state and federal governments which meets regularly.

"The National Cabinet will continue to work with a laser-like mission focus on creating jobs as we come out of the COVID crisis and we work into the years into the future.

"The National Cabinet will work together, with what is known as the council and federal financial relations, that is basically the meeting of treasurers. They met today. Those treasurers will take responsibility for all the funding agreements for the states and the Commonwealth.

"The treasurers will bring them together, consulting with the portfolio ministers but being responsible for all the agreements. The National Cabinet agreed today one of the first jobs the council of federal financial relations will need to do is look at all the agreements and how they can consolidated and rationalised.

"Obviously, there are the large foundational agreements like the one I announced today, they will continue as they are set out, reform and education is another which is in place."

 

'Foolish to think we're immune'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison:

"What are the expectations? Are our expectations of zero cases? No. That has never been our expectation, nor our goal. Eradication? Elimination?

"These are not the goals that we have. If it's achieved as a by-product then well and good.

"But the fact that a case or a group of cases may present is not something that should restrict moving ahead and getting progress on implementing the three-step plan and bringing Australia's economy back to a COVID-safe environment in which jobs can be restored and livelihoods can be restored.

"We only need to look at countries as sophisticated as ours, as developed as ours, with health systems as strong as ours, who have death rates 100 times of what has occurred in Australia.

"So, we would be foolish to think that we were immune or that we are immune. And as a result, the three-step plan, keeping the balance between the health management of the crisis and the economic management of the crisis in balance, continues to be the balance that the National Cabinet seeks to achieve and I believe is achieving."

 

PM: 'We're on track'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is speaking now from Canberra following the national cabinet meeting:

"We're on track, and we're making progress," he said.

"The three-step plan that I outlined several weeks ago is now very much an implementation as you can see from the chart, which we reviewed today that step one is done in all states and territories.

"Moving to step two in most in a few weeks' time in June."


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