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CoAG: does it deliver? « Previous | |Next »
December 1, 2008

COAG struck new agreements on health, education, housing, disability, productivity and indigenous services, most requiring states to publish data about their relative performance so voters would be able to assess whether the money was being used properly. The final agreement, which included $15.1 billion in new funding as opposed to the $11.1 billion in new funding mentioned before CoAG, has been sold as a stimulus package to create jobs and shield Australia from the economic downturn.

The aim is to develop plans to pay employers incentives to encourage healthier lifestyles among staff under a new preventive health package agreed by the commonwealth and the states.Though the weekend's Council of Australian Governments allocated $450 million to a new Health Prevention National Partnership, which aims to keep people well and take pressure off hospitals by targeting smoking, drinking and obesity, it was a hospital booster package.This package is contingent on the states meeting certain preventative health performance standards.

Most of the money went into hospitals for the Australian Health Care Agreement: an extra $500 million, a 7.3% indexation rate; an extra $750 million in 2008-9 to assist hospital emergency departments and $500m for subacute beds for older patients; $800 million for an Indigenous Health Partnership; and $1.1billion for training health workers. The details are not yet available.

The money is earmarked specifically to four new (out of 15) Indigenous-specific National Partnership (NP) payments in the areas of remote service delivery, health, remote housing and economic participation. Overall, it is hard to know to what extent this is the fiscal response to the COAG-agreed ambitious targets for closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians across the continent. There is recognition by the Rudd government that ‘closing the gap’ will not magically happen with business as usual and an implication that it is case of joining the mainstream, or continuing to be marginalised and neglected.

Funding crises in health (and education) that have now being partly addressed do owe a good deal to state mismanagement of the resources they have had. It is only reasonable that the Commonwealth is now seeking greater transparency and accountability for money it gives to the states, and, in particular, that it wants to link its grants to outcomes as much as outputs.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:08 AM | | Comments (1)


"....Transparency and wants to link its grants to outcomes..."
Does the mentionby Gillard of Brumby as being in favour of Gillard's dreadful Joel Kline "Children Last" education plan exemplify what the future will deliver with this sort of thinking?
Yet more economic ratonalism thru preoccupation with cost checks, particularly as a sales point to the mortgage belt, at the expense of concern with what health and education outcomes should really entail?