Council for the Australian Federation

The Council for the Australian Federation (CAF) was formed to support and enhance our federal system by providing an intergovernmental forum for state and territory leaders in Australia to discuss and resolve important issues independently of the Commonwealth.

The current Chair of the CAF is the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, the Honourable Adam Giles MLA.

Message from the Chair

Welcome to the website of the Council for the Australian Federation.

I look forward to serving as Chair of CAF in 2016 and continuing the important work my state and territory colleagues and I have been undertaking with the Commonwealth through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on a national economic reform agenda.

The reform agenda will be broad, ranging across competition policy, tax, innovation, infrastructure, cities and regulation. However, one of the most critical aspects of this reform agenda will continue to be improvements in the way our federation works, in particular in health and education.

We all know that the cost of delivering health services is going up, and that meeting these costs in the future is a shared priority and challenge for all governments. While this is a challenge, investing in better health services is money well spent – people will have higher living standards and lead healthier, happier, longer and more productive lives, which is also good for the economy. That is why we are working on a long term vision for health reform which will provide adequate and efficient funding, fair and affordable access to health care for all Australians consistent with the Medicare principles, and a new approach to primary care which will help keep people with chronic and complex conditions out of hospital.

Similarly, education reforms which deliver universal access to high quality preschool education, durable and adequate national funding arrangements for schools, high quality teachers and greater science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) capabilities will help Australian children reach their potential and prepare them for the jobs of the future.

In order to deliver high quality services to all Australians, governments need to have the capacity to pay for these services. At the same time, we need to keep taxes as low as possible – the tax system must be fair and it must encourage economic growth and productivity. Tax reform and revenue sharing arrangements for all governments will continue to be a key focus in 2016, and CAF will work constructively with the Commonwealth on this issue.

The coming year also has the potential to be a landmark year in terms of reform in Indigenous affairs, with COAG agreeing to develop a new strategic framework that puts Indigenous economic participation at the heart of the national agenda. This recognises that economic participation, jobs and business opportunities, underpinned by cultural participation, can drive social change and help Indigenous Australians break through the cycle of disadvantage. I am excited about this opportunity and I look forward to continuing work on this through CAF in 2016.

Adam Giles
Chair of the Council for the Australian Federation

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List of current members

The Honourable Mike Baird MP

Premier of New South Wales

The Hon Daniel Andrews MP

Premier of Victoria

The Honourable Jay Weatherill MP

Premier of South Australia

The Honourable Will Hodgman MP

Premier of Tasmania

The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP

Premier of Queensland

The Honourable Colin Barnett MP

Premier of Western Australia

About the Council for the Australian Federation

Each state and territory Premier or Chief Minister is a member of CAF. Victoria was instrumental in establishing CAF in 2006 and former South Australian Premier Mike Rann was the inaugural Chair.

In 2013 the Council reviewed its operations and reaffirmed its objectives. The Council's objectives are to:

  • work toward common understanding of the States' and Territories' positions in relation to policy issues involving the Commonwealth Government
  • take a leadership role on key national policy issues, including the Federation, that are not addressed by the Commonwealth Government.