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COAG health deal on the rocks?

Deal with WA looks as unlikely as ever.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has said he believes several states are prepared to pull out of the national health reform agreement.

It is nearly six months since WA became the only state not to sign up to COAG's national health reform agreement, spearheaded by then prime minister Kevin Rudd.

Under the agreement, the federal government will take full funding and policy responsibility for aged care, particularly Home and Community (HACC) services.

Barnett has refused to give up a third of his state's GST revenue to fund the national health and hospitals network.

Last week it appeared any agreement between the federal government and WA was as unlikely as ever with the premier saying the proposal was becoming increasingly unattractive.

"We haven't stopped talking to the Commonwealth over that but the more I see of it the less attractive it is," he said.

Barnett said he believed there were several states regretting the decision to sign up to the national health reform agreement and "wouldn't be surprised if a few pulled out".

The WA government was prepared to pay an equivalent amount of money that was being asked for into a jointly administered fund, he said.

But he said as he continued to talk to WA health professionals, the more flawed the national health reform proposal appeared.

"Someone comes up with a grand idea of, let’s have a national scheme. This sounds terrific, but a national scheme means it gets pitched at the level of the worst performing state, that's the only way you can get all states to agree."

The premier said that under the agreement, WA would miss out on $80 million a year which was not a "burning issue" when compared with the $6 billion a year the state spent on public hospitals.


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