Health to dominate national cabinet

Health funding will be top of the agenda when Prime Minister Anthony Albanese meets with state and territory leaders for the first national cabinet under the Labor government.

Before the meeting on Friday, state premiers advocated for the commonwealth to restore its share of the funding to an equal partnership.

Health funding was evenly split between the states and federal government under prime minister Kevin Rudd but his successor Tony Abbott cut the federal share to 40 per cent. Malcolm Turnbull increased the contribution to 45 per cent.


South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas said he wouldn’t be a “lone voice” in calling for extra funding from the federal government.

“I don’t think there is a state government or a territory government in the nation that isn’t having to endure scrutiny over the performance of the hospitals, particularly the ambulance service and also ambulance ramping at emergency departments,” he told Sky News on Thursday.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said health reform would be “front and centre” for her government and its counterparts.

Mr Albanese said he had inherited $1 trillion in debt from the Morrison government and was “not in a position” to implement “everything we would like to do immediately”.

He said productivity reform was one of his agenda items.

WA Premier Mark McGowan flagged discussing labour market shortages, and is pushing a campaign for people on the east coast of Australia to move west.

Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said economic reform was needed for Australia to remain competitive against other countries.

“To secure the future, national cabinet will need to re-imagine our economy by building on its existing strengths while also pursuing new opportunities in growing and emerging industries,” she said.

“We need to lift productivity so employers can share the dividends of better performing workplaces with their teams through higher wages and better conditions.”

Mr Albanese hosted the state and territory leaders at The Lodge for dinner on Thursday night ahead of the meeting.

© AAP 2022