The four things you need to know about today’s national cabinet meeting

The four things you need to know about today’s national cabinet meeting
  • PublishedDecember 6, 2023

Speaking after national cabinet on Wednesday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had just left a successful and significant meeting. 

The country’s premiers and chief ministers held some great expectations going into the cabinet meeting, as did the federal government. 

So, what did they agree on? 

Health care

Post-cabinet meeting, the prime minister said the biggest winner for the country was health care. 

The premiers and chief ministers agreed to a package worth $1.2 billion to “take pressure off” hospitals, endorsing funding from the commonwealth towards the National Health Reform Agreement and Medicare. 

The government said it would continue to “boost” funding towards more urgent care clinics. 

“National Cabinet endorsed [the] Commonwealth increasing National Health Reform Agreement contributions to 45 per cent over a maximum of a 10-year glide path from 1 July 2025, with an achievement of 42.5 per cent before 2030,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. 

All first ministers during a press conference post national cabinet.
First ministers all agreed to establish a national firearms registry. ( ABC News: Matt Roberts )

NDIS

The federal government went into the meeting seeking additional support from states and territories as it embarks on reforming the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which is forecast to grow at 10.4 per cent each year over the next decade, making it the highest-growing government payment.

In March, the government announced $732.9 million over four years to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of the scheme. The government has committed to reducing the magnitude of the scheme’s growth to 8 per cent.

On Wednesday, the prime minister said the government was waiting for the independent review of the scheme. However, it announced that it would work to “restore the original intent of the scheme”. 

“The NDIS was designed to support people with permanent and significant disability,” Mr Albanese said. “They need that care desperately.

“But … not everyone with this ability or issue that requires support is in the NDIS now,” he said. 

“That doesn’t mean people who deserve and need to be on the NDIS [will be taken off it]. It doesn’t mean any cuts. [We’re] talking about an 8 per cent growth target as well. That’s substantial.” 

The state and territory governments would continue to financially contribute to the scheme, in line with its growth at 4 per cent and capped at 8 per cent — the remainder of the cost growth would be covered by the commonwealth, commencing July 2028.

National firearms register

The national cabinet agreed to implement a national firearms register — a move the government said was the most substantial update to firearm management systems in almost 30 years.

“The register will address significant gaps and inconsistencies with the way firearms are managed across all jurisdictions,” the prime minister said. 

The national cabinet will work towards the register being fully operational within four years. 

GST

States and territories last week told the federal government they would only negotiate their contribution to the scheme if the GST “no-worse-off guarantee” was made permanent.

Today, that was agreed to.

The government says it will extend it in its “current form” for three years from 2027-28. 

In a communique released after state and territory treasurers met last Wednesday, they said they stood to lose a collective $4.9 billion a year if the guarantee was not extended, a figure expected to grow over time.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said of the extension: “This is a very positive outcome which recognises the pressure on all of our budgets.” 

SOURCE: ABCNEWS

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