States in talks for funding
TWO states have signed up to the prime minister’s new national hospital funding deal, but others are calling for Medicare reforms and more cash before they agree.
The Council of Australian Governments meeting wrapped up in Canberra yesterday with the Federal Government reaching agreement with NSW and Western Australia on hospital funding.
However, Victoria won’t sign until it sees Medicare reform, while Queensland will only sign once it gets $170 million in federal funding it is owed.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the agreement with NSW and WA would pump an extra $9 billion and more than $3.5 billion respectively into their state hospital systems over five years from 2020.
“I look forward to other ju- risdictions securing additional funding in coming months,” Mr Turnbull said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he couldn’t sign on until he saw a plan to reform Medicare to keep more people out of the hospital system, but he was “encouraged” the work would be done.
The premiers also agreed to formally respond to the recommendations of the royal commission into child sexual abuse by June.
The Federal Government wants the states and territories and institutions such as churches to sign up to a national redress scheme, which is scheduled to start on July 1.
Mr Turnbull said a national schools agreement was on track to be signed by September.
A review of the Closing the Gap program to address indigenous disadvantage was extended and is now due to report in October.