The agreement is still to be finalised, more details to be worked on, but essentially this is a win for both PM Gillard & the State Premiers…having signed a heads of agreement on healthcare reform.
This leaves negabore Coalition leader Tony Abbott dusting himself off, as the government by signing this agreement, has sped past him on his soapbox holding an “End of Gillard is Nigh” sign – the man who as Health Minister cut what should’ve been an increase in spending by a billion dollars.
Earlier Abbott tried to stay ahead of the game by accusing the Gillard government of “backflipping”…not quite as dramatic as his previous ridiculous “biggest surrender since Singapore” comment…but still an exaggeration.
An important breakthrough was made by the PM at the COAG meeting today as she was able to convince the Premiers to agree to a national funding pool…whilst the government made a pragmatic compromise itself by accepting the States could keep their GST.
As summarised by ABC on-line:
Under the new deal, the Federal and State Governments will contribute money into a national funding pool to pay for the health system.
The funds will then be paid out to the states and territories on the basis of how many operations or procedures they perform.
“It [multiple distributing bodies] would have risked over time that information was not truly comparable nationally,” Ms Gillard said.
“As a result of today’s agreement we are sweeping away those eight separate bureaucracies for one national funding body.
“While this has been a very long day, it has been a very successful outcome.
“[We will be] able to ensure hospitals around the nation are transparently and fairly funded and that information between states is truly comparable.”
Now that the deal is done, the states stand to receive more than $16.4 billion extra for their health systems by the end of this decade.
As well as the signed heads of agreement, Ms Gillard also secured a jointly-signed national partnership agreement dealing with targets in emergency departments and elective surgery.
Ms Gillard said many of the elements of the agreement would be implemented from July 1.
Once again we see PM Julia Gillard’s superior negotiating skills put to good use and her coming up with the goods.
It is doubtful that Tony Abbott could’ve achieved such an outcome due to his overt hostility towards anything ALP, including State governments, and his wonky, inconsistent negotiating approach as evidenced by his failing to convince enough Independents to come his way to form a stable government last year.
As longtime contributor Mobius puts it:
Abbott could never have achieved anything like this, absolutely no way.
What was also telling was the indirect digs at the Howard government over raping the health system without actually mentioning the Howard government directly, except for Mike Rann who said straight out that as the states were putting in more money Howard was taking it out faster. The most important thing in this agreement that Gillard insisted on and all the states agreed to is the transparency. It was hiding the Federal health money and then blaming the States for shortfalls that allowed Howard to screw the system. That cannot happen under this new agreement.
Remember people who was health minister under Howard.
Unbelievably great stuff and this is how the Federation should work and show that States are still viable and not an unnecessary layer of government.
The momentum is certainly at this present time with the government.
Over to you.