Premier proposes big shift
New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet wants the states to take over responsibility for child care.
In an address to the National Press Club this week, the NSW premier called for a bold overhaul of Australia’s federation.
Mr Perrottet said healthcare and education need reform, calling 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.
“I want to work with the Commonwealth government for NSW to take on full responsibility for childcare and early childhood education,” he said.
He said Australia’s healthcare system, which is run by Commonwealth and state systems in parallel, is “completely disconnected”.
“Emerging from the pandemic, we should take this opportunity to embrace reform,” he said.
“I would not limit the review to health and education.”
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that states and the Commonwealth can work together, but it also identified weaknesses.
“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 proposed reinvigorating the Council for the Australian Federation, based on a blueprint of the Board of Treasurers, to enable Premiers and Chief Ministers to work together.