Sunday, July 16, 2006

Federal/State Politics: COAG Agreement

What’s in it for the States?

More money for:
  • mental health; diabetes; funding for more doctors & nurses.
  • A perceived ability to negotiate a “better deal” for their state from the Commonwealth

For NSW:
  • more money for programs that can be announced soon; and again before the election next March.
  • A chance to announce that a new COAG Committee will look at adjustments where states (think NSW & VIC) are spending disproportionate amounts of money compared to other states on a few selected areas. NSW & Victoria have long complained of overly heavy subsidies by them to other states.

What’s in it for the Federal Government & John Howard?

  • More sidelining of Peter Costello – Howard is seen as being better able to “work with” the States. Costello has previously stated that his view of Federalism should concentrate more power with the Federal Government.
  • Reducing the ability of the Federal Labor opposition to capture votes by promising to “improve” Federal-State relationships. (an election is due in the next 16 months). Never mind that the current health funding model still encourages “cost-shifting” of health expenditure between both the Federal and State governments.
The Bottom Line

It's a chance for politicians to put as much "spin" (gloss over underlying problems) to suit their own political agendas leading to the next elections at State & Federal levels. We voters need much more detail than the nice words said in front of the TV & newspaper cameras.

The Analyst