Dominic Perrottet National Press Club address: NSW Premier calls for federation overhaul

Dominic Perrottet National Press Club address: NSW Premier calls for federation overhaul

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has put forward a plan to turn state and federal relations from “combative” to “constructive”.

In an address to the National Press Club on Wednesday, Mr Perrottet said he had a plan for a reinvigorated federation, borne of the mistakes made during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Perrottet said while the pandemic had shown states and the Commonwealth were able to work together, it had identified weaknesses in the federation as well.

“A lack of clarity about who is responsible for what, buck-passing, blame-shifting and, sometimes, hyper-parochialism,” he said.

“We’re all Australians and in times of crisis, we do best when every state works in the national interest.

“When it comes to Covid, no response has been perfect, and no response could be. (But) we can learn from the mistakes that some of us have made.”

Mr Perrottet said his plan would enable Premiers and Chief Ministers to work together, not to fight the Commonwealth, working constructively and bringing more to the table.

He warns the Premiers’ Council to supplement National Cabinet, which he said was a better model than COAG had ever been.

“COAG is where good ideas went to die,” he said.

“If that is the atmosphere that states expect, they won’t make the effort, our federation stagnates, and the people of every state pay the price.

“This is about the states accepting their share of responsibility for our nation’s destiny.”

Mr Perrottet said two key areas that reform was a priority was healthcare and education.

He labelled the “mishmash” of the education system a “dog’s breakfast”.

“The way responsibility for education is currently apportioned between the states and the Commonwealth makes no sense,” the Premier said.

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