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Transcript 16964

Transcript of COAG press conference

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 07/12/2009

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 16964

PM: Well welcome to the late Legislative Council Chamber of the Parliament of Queensland. I haven't been in this room for quite some time. In fact, I do recall coming here in 1990, at the end of that year when Bob Hawke was chairing the first conference, of the special premier's conference here, bringing together the states and territories on how we tried to frame a new federation for the future.

What was significant about that conference held in this room way back then was that, the then Prime Minister sought to outline how the Commonwealth and the States and Territories should open up a whole new chapter in cooperative arrangements which went beyond the simple provision of intergovernmental finance.

That is, how could the Commonwealth and States unfold a new agenda of microeconomic reform and other areas of national reform beyond narrowly defined financial policy. And while COAG itself didn't begin until 1992, this, in many respects this is where that process began.

Having said that, and COAG began a couple of years later, this is the first time that the Council of Australian Governments formally has met in Brisbane and I would like to thank Premier Anna Bligh for being such a good host for this particular meeting.

In fact, given how appealing the weather is here today Anna, I am sure COAGE will be back here on a more regular basis and it is good to be back home as well, as far as I am concerned personally.

On the agenda today, what we have been dealing with is very much a working agenda of continuing reform and we have done so in areas of health and hospital reform, childcare and early education, the need for better housing supply, the planning for our capital cities, some important microeconomic reforms in areas such as transport and of course, I was able to also briefed the Premiers and Chief Ministers on the recent developments on climate change in the lead up to Copenhagen.

I should also say this is the first council of Australian Governments meeting where we also have the attendance of the new Premier of NSW, Premier Kristina Keneally and it is good to have you with us Kristina and thank you for your contribution, in this, your first COAG.

Let me just go to some of the details that we have discussed today.

Firstly on health and hospitals reform - this was a good discussion which lasted a couple of hours. I on behalf of the Commonwealth ran through the core findings of the health reform commission chaired by Dr Bennett, and ran through the specific recommendations which she has made for the future. Recommendations which of course go to the heart of the future of our primary healthcare system, what we do for the future of our hospitals, what we do also for the future of aged care, particular challenges also for dental health and mental health, also what we do long term and the great challenges facing the proper provision of a health workforce for the future and proper training.

It was good that the Premiers and Chief Ministers were also able to contribute to the discussion on their priorities for reform, their views on the current strengths of the system, the current weaknesses of the system, and where changes needed to occur in the future.

There was a particularly good discussion about what practical measures could be embraced in the area of primary healthcare reform - how we could actually get those services out to the community better.

We also dealt with the specific recommendations from the Bennett Commission review on the reform of funding for hospitals, namely, activity based funding. We also dealt with the particular interrelationship with the aged care system and the fact that we still have a problem of the proper coordination between the acute hospital system and aged care.

One of the things which confronted us all though, was the real challenges with providing the best possible planning and better provision of the health workforce in the future.

The data we saw this morning, state by state, territory by territory and from a national perspective for us as well, on the future shortages of doctors, the future shortages of nurses, and other allied health professionals, is frankly very stark and very sobering.

Any long term reform of our health and hospital system for the future must get those challenges right. Consistent with what I have said before, the purpose of today's discussion with the Premiers and Chief Ministers was to outline the Commonwealth's, the National Hospital Reform Commission's recommendations and to seek their views in response to it.

The next stage goes down to the decision making in the first part of next year. We have agreed that we will confirm our processes for decision making between the Commonwealth and the States in the weeks ahead and then next year turn to the actual decision making process itself, as well as the future role for COAG in doing that.

Today, the first stage of that, it was a good all round discussion, issue by issue, right across the health portfolio, every jurisdiction contributing, and I thank my colleagues for the contributions that they have made.

Every Australian family depends on the strength of our healthcare system for the future. Our healthcare system is under great stress and pressure and therefore, we must get it absolutely right for the long term future.

We also today, through our communiqué have reached a new agreement on childcare.

As of today we have agreed on new compulsory national standards for childcare and early childhood education services, including lower staff-to-child ratios under the National Quality Standard; new qualifications requirements for all early childhood education workers under the National Quality Standard; and a transparent quality ratings system which will now allow parents to easily compare the quality on offer at different child care services.

The Australian Government will continue to help parents meet the costs of childcare. But I would thank my State and Territory colleagues for their agreement to these new compulsory national standards.

Another area of reform that we discussed today and reached some early decisions on, was the long term future planning of our capital cities.

Some may recall a speech I gave on this some weeks ago, in fact more than a month ago now, on a future role for the Commonwealth in partnership with the States and Territories, in how we guided the long term planning of our capital cities.

This goes down to, the adequacy of the planning guidelines which currently exist for our capital cities and to make sure that they are properly planning for population growth, for economic growth, the continued provision of infrastructure, and how they deal also with the great challenges of sustainability, as well as housing affordability and urban congestion.

And we today, through our deliberations, have established a mechanism through the COAG Reform Council, to advance that debate considerably. What we intend to do, in the future is to have a national system, across Australia whereby we have nationally consistent planning principles and procedures, for our capital cities nationwide.

From the Commonwealth's point of view, this is particularly important, because you have seen from the last Budget that the Commonwealth is prepared to invest in urban infrastructure in the future. To do so, we the Commonwealth must have continued confidence in the national consistency of the planning procedures across states and territories for our major cities.

If we are going to invest in transport infrastructure, we want to make sure that the planning framework which has been applied to those decisions is robust and consistent. That is one of the threshold problems we had to deal with in the lead up to decisions and recommendations from Infrastructure Australia prior to the last Budget.

Today's decision as reflected in the communiqué, therefore takes our national collaboration on this and our federal test further, and I would thank the state and territory colleagues for that.

Also, can I just conclude on our discussions today on the future of the World Cup bid for football. COAG today reaffirmed the commitment of all governments to work cooperatively with the Football Federation of Australia in support of its bid to host the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup. And state and territory colleagues today endorsed correspondence which I will be sending officially to the Football Federation in support of their bid process.

This is one step in a multi step process. Next year we will be required to launch our formal bid document, what is called in the trade, the "bid book" or the "bidding book". That is to be worked through between a team of Commonwealth and State officials. Then of course that leads to the final stage which is a determination by the FIFA world body of who gets to host the '18 or '22 FIFA World Cup.

Lastly, I was able to brief state and territory colleagues on the current stage of climate change negotiations with the other Governments around the world in the lead up to the Copenhagen climate change conference next week.

I indicated that those negotiations are very tough and very difficult, the Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong will be leaving for Copenhagen herself in the next 24 to 48 hours. I will follow her to Copenhagen sometime next week. These negotiations will be very difficult, but we intend to put our shoulder to the wheel in seeking to deliver the best possible global agreement under these difficult circumstances for what is the great challenge of our generation. Now that is my summary of where we've got to today.

There are many other matters which we reached agreement on which are covered off in the communiqué, which I know is being completed and will be handed to you soon. But before I invite questions from the media, could I ask Anna Bligh to add to my remarks.

PREMIER BLIGH: Thank you Prime Minister. Well on behalf of Queensland, it's been a great pleasure to host the Council of the Australian Governments here today in Brisbane. This, as the Prime Minister outlined, is the first time that COAG has met in Queensland. So this meeting here today in our Parliament House has been an historic first meeting of the Council of Australian Governments in Queensland. So I am particularly pleased that we took some very important steps in what I believe can be historic health reforms across the nation.

The discussions today from the point of view of the states were very constructive. They do set out the first steps towards some comprehensive changes to our healthcare system that we believe can and will be in the interests of all Australians. We understand that all Australians would want the best possible healthcare, and they want the best possible hospital system.

There was also a shared agreement that delivering good quality hospital care is as much about what happens outside of our hospitals as inside them. And what we mean by that is that we agree that reforms to the primary healthcare system in this country, reforms in the area of preventative health, reforms in the aged care system, and significantly, reforms in the workplace planning and training of the health professional workforce, together, will not only improve general health, but have a significant impact in relieving the pressure on our hospital systems, thereby delivering better services.

The States were all of the same mind in relation to the Commonwealth's bid for FIFA World Cup. The states of Australians all share a view that involving our nation in major global events is important to who we are, and we want to be part of that effort. So we've been very pleased to confirm our commitment to the Prime Minister, allowing him to take the bid forward to the next stage.

We also saw significant progress today in areas of important economic and social reform. We've continued to agree in the areas of important regulatory reform, we've also reached agreements in relation to new national planning criteria for each of our capital cities. This is important to our infrastructure effort here in Queensland. We have gone through very significant planning processes in our high growth area in the South East. But we understand from the Commonwealth's point of view that now that we've got a Commonwealth Government that wants to invest in infrastructure, we want to work with them to make sure they get good value for their investment, just as we do when we make State investments.

Importantly, the agreement today in relation to childcare sets new quality benchmarks and standards in relation to adult to child ratios in the care system, and minimum standards in relation to qualifications. This is an important step forward in the nation's childcare system, where we care for our youngest citizens and prepare them for their life at school and beyond.

So these new national guidelines and requirements in relation to the childcare system from the State's perspective, are a very important step forward today.

All in all, the efforts of COAG this morning were a reminder to us that this is, as the Prime Minister has said in the past, the workforce of the federation, and real reform, whether it's on the economy, or whether it's in the social sphere of our activity, real reform requires hard work, there aren't any shortcuts. You just have to do the hard slog. And that often requires the sort of effort that we put in today in relation, particularly to health- and we believe these are important first steps that in 2010 are going to deliver major reform for the people of Australia and the people of our states.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: Quite a few.

JOURNALIST: And the same sorts of comments that the Premier of Queensland just made about important first steps on the health, (inaudible) major change, structural change in the health system. I don't see it, what's the timeline, and what's the process (inaudible)

PM: Well the bottom line is this. Let me answer your question in two parts. You ask about differences in the Commonwealth's policy performance on health. I simply go to the Australian Healthcare Agreement which we negotiated last year for the four to five year period ahead. That delivered a 50 per cent increase in funding to the States and Territories from the Commonwealth. So you asked what's changed? There is a change.

JOURNALIST: Structural.

PM: Okay, can I go to structural reform then. Buried within the Commonwealth- the Australian Healthcare Agreement- are for the first time national partnership agreements with the States and Territories, which go to the key measurement of key health outcomes in response with particular payments. One of them goes to the whole question of the Commonwealth investment in elective surgery. Another one goes to the whole question of accident and emergency for the future as well.

So I'd simply draw your attention to the national partnership agreements which are contained within the Australian Healthcare Agreement last year. That was all within phase one of what we said we'd do. We haven't simply sat back for the two years that we've been in office and said well, didn't we inherit a huge problem from the previous Government, who took $1 billion out of the hospital system. We stepped up to the plate and said here's a new Healthcare Agreement, we negotiated during the course last year, delivered by the end of last year, and it has become operational this year and delivers a 50 per cent increase in funding. What's that in quantitative terms? The difference between a $42 billion base and a $64 billion base for the future.

So you ask what we've been doing. I would ask you to have a careful analysis of the content of that agreement, and to the funding streams which flow through of it. One of the other things which we've been doing for the first time is co-investing with the States and Territories in physical capital infrastructure of hospitals and medical research institutes across the country. We spoke about that in part today. One of which goes to delivery of integrated cancer care across the country.

The Commonwealth, for the first time, is now engaged in the single largest national investment in cancer care across the nation, $1.2 billion, including a co-investment with the Victorians of some $400 million in the new centre at Parkville, and secondly with our friends in New South Wales, two investments - one at Garvan, and the other one at the new Chris O'Brien centre at RPA.

Can I just add to that, across that, across regional Australia, an investment of several hundred million dollars in regional integrated cancer care centres right across the nation. So you ask what we've been doing - answer, Matthew? A lot.

Now, to go to the second phase, which is how do you reform the system long term. What I've said consistently is that once we'd delivered the report from Christine Bennett in the middle of this year, that what we'd do is two things. One, consult the actual health sector itself. And then secondly, consult with the States and Territories on the long term reform which is needed for the system out to 2030, not just the five years covered by the Healthcare Agreement which I just referred to before.

What have we done for the last five months since Bennett delivered her report? The Health Minister and I have consulted 76 different hospitals across the country. I've done 19 of those myself personally. She and her assistant Ministers have done the rest, in every State of the Commonwealth. That's what we've been doing.

Secondly, what I've said consistently is that once we've got to this COAG in Brisbane at the end of the year, we would have an initial discussion with the States and Territories on their response to Bennett. We've done that today, and they've given me some of their views on what Bennett has said, what they agree with, and what they disagree with. And thirdly what I've said consistently is, bearing that in mind, what we would then do is frame the Commonwealth's final position on Bennett, and long term health and hospitals reform in the early part of next year. That's exactly what we're doing.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: The first thing I'd say is that I don't resile from anything that I have said publically on that matter either prior to the last election or since the last election. That's the first point.

The second is, based on the deliberations today, we still have some way to go yet with the States and Territories on reaching what we would regard as the best long-term policy reform agenda for the future. But as I said, and partly in response to Matthew Franklin's question before, we will frame that decision in the early part of 2010, and you will be in absolutely no doubt as to where our position then stands.

But you know something? If you are dealing with the future of the health and hospital system, you've got to get it right. As my States and Territory colleagues have said quite clearly today not only is this a system which involves massive investments by the Australian taxpayer now, through State and Territory Governments, it is one on which literally millions of Australians depend each year. Therefore, if we're going to engineer a reform long-term, we intend to get it right. And we are adhering to the consultation process that I referred to.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PREMIER KENEALLY: Let me take the first question. In terms of the transport blueprint, that's a document that's undergoing its final (inaudible) and processes. It's not yet a finalised document. What we have discussed today with the Prime Minister and with my colleagues from the other States and Territories is how we develop a set of principles (inaudible) the planning for our major cities or our capital cities, and we look at the work that we've done in New South Wales (inaudible) and the Metropolitan Strategy in place since 2006, it lays out how we can develop and accommodate what's expected to be 1.7 million more people by 2031.

What we're now looking to do with that Metropolitan Strategy is to update that. It will start a five-year review, and that will be done alongside the Transport Blueprint, so those two documents have been moving together, basically moving side-by-side, making two halves with one whole.

Now, (inaudible) how Sydney will grow. It will grow (inaudible). It will encourage economic growth. It will create nearly 70,000 new homes, 50,000 new jobs (inaudible)

So that's, the focus of the work we're doing with the Transport Blueprint and I'm very pleased to say it's been a productive session today around the planning process for major cities. The work that we've done with the metropolitan strategy in New South Wales and the Transport Blueprint endorses and acknowledges the principles that the Prime Minister laid out in his speech just over a month ago.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) Ministerial staff, Are you comfortable with that?

PREMIER KENEALLY: We've got now, I am finalising my Cabinet and I won't be providing any further commentary on that before that's finished.

JOURNALIST: Anna Bligh, have you spoken to your counterparts about (inaudible) Bundaberg Hospital (inaudible)?

PREMIER BLIGH: My counterparts and I did have a discussion today, as you heard, about capital city planning. We have all experienced the different levels of growth, and yes, Queensland's growth has been (inaudible) other States. We live in a free, democratic country and people have always moved across State borders and expect that they will continue to do that.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PREMIER BLIGH: Well, I wouldn't (inaudible) her problems, but part of our growth comes from international migration, about just over 30 percent from interstate and just over 20 percent we grow our own.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PREMIER BLIGH: Today was an opportunity for us to talk about planning. Even in those large, metropolitan environments or for all purposes (inaudible) from overseas or interstate.

PM: I just draw your attention to the 22 objectives of the communiqué, and what it says about long-term capital city planning and the intense briefing (inaudible) - that the people want to move here. It's a wonderful part of Australia. The responsibility of national and state governments is to make sure we've got the best long-term planning procedures in place. So the national government can continue to invest in important long-term infrastructure across the nation. (inaudible) So if you want to know where the rubber hits the road on infrastructure, on the Australian Government engagement with the states on infrastructure planning and provision of infrastructure, that section of the communiqué deals with new arrangements on how we plan our key infrastructure into the future. In the past, the Australian Government has walked away at a rate of knots. Now it's not. That's where we change what has occurred.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: Well, the conversation actually wasn't (inaudible). I'm just being frank with you. I actually ran through, at some length, what the -

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

PM: I ran through at some length what the (inaudible) commission had recommended and drilled into that in some detail. The States, each of them, Premiers and Chief Ministers, then ran to their own submissions on what was right and wrong within their own jurisdictions and how we could work on a common route to reform.

What I tried to run through before was a list of some of the themes which emerged. One big example was national health workforce reform. If you look at the state-based data and national data for the undersupply of doctors and nurses (inaudible) in the next few years, we have a major problem on our hands. No level of government has dealt with this effectively in my judgement for a long, long time. We as a Commonwealth are responsible for the training of doctors and nurses which (inaudible).

I don't think the Australian Government has done enough on this in times past. Nicola Roxon has tried to make amends for that in the last 12 months or so, by upping the number of training places for each. But if you look at the numbers which are rolling down the railway tracks towards us over the next decade, it's huge.

If you want to know where we're headed over time, it is major problem areas such as that.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) the Prime Minister's press release says that the national government (inaudible) lots of states have already ticked, and what are some quite urgent problems with this COAG meeting. Clearly, not so far as we can see, that hasn't appeared. Have you asked for federal consideration of (inaudible)?

PREMIER KENEALLY: Can I say that I've very much appreciated the opportunity to speak the Prime Minister and my colleagues today at COAG about the challenges that we face in the health portfolio in New South Wales. We are fortunate in New South Wales because at the moment our emergency room departments are performing well. We are meeting our waiting times in the triage categories one and two. We also have very good elective surgery lists. Where the challenge is that we face in New South Wales sits is in costs. Currently, the health budget in New South Wales makes up 27 percent of the State budget, and if we continue on current trend, that will go to 50 percent by 2030 and it will eat up the entire State budget by 2046. Clearly that is unsustainable position for us. The challenge that we face, particularly comes from, and this is part of the information presented to my colleagues today comes from the fact that we simply as individuals are each consuming more health services than we have in the past.

Partly a consequence of the aging population, partly as a result of the fact that we are dealing with chronic disease. Chronic disease never (inaudible) any of the great challenges that faces the New South Wales health system. Now we have some initiatives underway which I'm going to highlight today, they could, perhaps be implemented as a national level we come to on chronic disease management when it comes to dealing with demand but for us and it's a challenge and it's been acknowledged by my colleagues in their discussions (inaudible) is the integration into hospital care, acute care, community care and aged care where we have an opportunity to reform, where we have an opportunity to create a better prevention and to keep people out of hospital beds.

JOURNALIST: Premier, your predecessor was going to come here and ask the Commonwealth to take over funding of the New South Wales (inaudible) at some stage. Did you put in that request? If not, why not?

PREMIER: No I didn't because the Prime Minister and the Commonwealth have engaged in a process, they engaged in a process first of all of the Bennett report. Secondly, undertaking significant consultation on that report and now engaging in very constructive dialogue with their State and Territory counterparts. I see the opportunity that I have here today is to seek a new partnership with the Prime Minister and the Commonwealth when it comes to taking, what is, one of the biggest challenges facing the New South Wales budget over the next thirty years.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: The only thing I have to say in response to that last comment is, as the Premier has indicated, based on her projections, twenty seven percent of the State budget now on health rising to fifty, rising to one hundred in about 2046, and the fifty percent reached in about 2030. This is therefore a very large structural challenge for all State and Territory governments. You've asked the question, why have we taken some time to work our way through this for the long term?

These are massive numbers that effect the totality of the health system and therefore they have to be got right and that's what we're working on. A bit of sticking plaster here and a bit of sticking plaster there, frankly, when you're looking at long term reform they just don't work and that is why we're doing this systematically. The second thing, in terms of the current nuts and bolts of if, if you like, and the things we are doing today are consistent with the Australian health care agreement, which today we signed a new inter-government agreement which deals with the next stage of elective surgery funding from the Australian government to the states and that includes the good state of New South Wales.

So if you want to say there's nuts and bolts that deal with elective surgery in the here and now in the New South Wales public hospitals, and the public hospitals right across the country, that's there. The longer term stuff (inaudible) we've got to get right.

JOURNALIST: Do you think that former Premier Rees is requesting that you (inaudible) New South Wales?

PM: I haven't looked at his proposal, which was put out publicly that day carefully. Obviously he has particular views about the future direction of the system. My responsibility as Prime Minister is to be attentive to the expressed views of all heads of government from each of the states including the new Premier of New South Wales.

I go back to the fundamental point. On the question of dealing with long term reform of the health system, these are very big numbers which go to such fundamentals as the sustainability of State health budgets and State budgets into the future. We've got to get these things right. You don't respond to such systemic questions on the basis of, you know, a public statement or a public speech given on a particular day. These are complex negotiations. We intend to get it right and we will get it right.

JOURNALIST: On the issue of childcare what are the details in terms of possible increases in cost and reduction in the ratios of children and carers?

PM: Well, over time, these standards will be implemented in individual centres. Some centres can already meet these criteria. Others will not. I think what the expectation is of all parents is that they know, frankly, who's compliant and who's not. That's why we believe, particularly given the extent of interstate migration, that people know through nationally transparent and available data who's meeting those standards and who's not. The individual billing arrangements will be determined by individual childcare centres but the Commonwealth's responsibility in terms of the various childcare rebates, which we offer, we'll continue in the future.

JOURNALIST: Do you think it was appropriate for Malcolm Turnbull to describe Tony Abbott's ETS proposal as bullshit?

PM: Well. That's an interesting question. With climate change and action on climate change, you're either fair dinkum or you're not. If you're fair dinkum about it you are saying, here is the government's system and here's an alternative system (inaudible). We, the government, have a clear policy on climate change it's called the carbon pollution reduction scheme. The legislation has been out there for nine months.

All the funding that's associated with it has been out there for nine months and the one upon which we reached agreement with the federal Liberal party just prior to the change in leadership. That's what I call being fair dinkum about climate change. Very plain, this is what we're doing, why we're doing it, this is how much it costs, this is where the (inaudible) will flow.

To be not fair dinkum about it is to say, well I don't support any of that and here's a magic pudding and it will somehow be drawn upon to, somehow be a (inaudible), which they didn't explain to anyone whatsoever with the cost of adjusting to a lower carbon economy. I don't think that is fair dinkum. I suppose that a few people have drawn the conclusion that the leader of the opposition's straight talk in fact camouflages some pretty dodgy policy when it comes to climate change.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, would you consider federal intervention in the New South Wales branch of the Labor party?

PM: Matters of an administrative nature within the Australian Labor party lie within the party organisation. Now, federally, all questions of that nature should be put there.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) child care centres from the conference, did you opt for option three or option four? How much will it cost (inaudible).

PM: Option three or option four? All I know is that we did agree with, which is a system which, how did you know what the actions were?

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: Ok, I'm impressed. I tell you what we did agree upon which is an option which is lowest adult to child ratios under a national quality standard. New qualification requirements for all early childhood education workers under the national quality standard and a transparent quality ranking system which will now allow parents to reach for better quality on offer at different childcare centres. In terms of the categorisation of the number of the option you're talking about, I'm sorry, I can't assist you.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: Well, as I said in response to the earlier question, the actual flow through consequences of each centre will vary. You know that, as well as I do. Some will be properly staffed and entirely meet all the accreditation criteria which are laid out here, others will not. Accordingly the adjustments will be made per centre depending on their circumstances and whether or not they're going to meet accreditations standards or not. Which will now, for the first time, will be made available to parents, clearly, with a transparent quality rating system.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: (inaudible) thought that they would be voluntary standards.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: No, no. They are mandatory national standards.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) better than what they are now?

PM: What I am saying is, mandatory national standards of the criteria I've just outlined (inaudible). Some of them already have sufficient staff in terms of the staff to teacher ratio, others may not. Some may already have the proper qualification prerequisites, others may not. I answer your question, it depends on the circumstances of the individual-

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) Premier, you're the third Premier of New South Wales to come to a COAG meeting with the Prime Minister. How does this (inaudible) important for you given (inaudible)?

PREMIER: Sure, I very much appreciated the opportunity to be here to be here today and in particular to have a good discussion with the Prime Minister over breakfast about some of the issues that can help the country, particularly in relation to health, but we also had an opportunity to discuss the FIFA world cup bid and I did make the point of suggesting to the Prime Minister, he have a look at how well Citi-link operated in Sydney this week with the V8 races under the conflict of sporting events and should Australia win the bid for the World Cup, we'd like to have the final in Sydney.

JOURNALIST: Mr Rudd (inaudible)

PREMIER: I thank my colleagues for that

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PREMIER RANN: Can I just say that since I was assaulted on October the 1st, I have been getting on with the job of doing my job as Premier. And as you would know, that there are matters currently before the criminal court, as well as defamation action which means that it would be totally inappropriate for me to be in contempt of the court by commenting.

But I will talk about the FIFA World Cup and the fact of the matter is that this morning we had a very quick briefing from Geoff Dickson who is playing a coordinating role. The world cup is much much bigger than the Olympic Games and it is national, (inaudible) push. So I was able to tell the Prime Minister and the other Premiers and Geoff Dickson this morning that South Australia and Adelaide is keen to be a host city for the World Cup Games and indeed we are committing $450 million to upgrade Adelaide Oval which will be great for football (inaudible), great for international cricket, but also will be FIFA compliant and capable of hosting a World Cup game.

This is very important for the nation, to get behind this bid, and I thought this morning there was a common resolution, that we not only want the bid to win, but we want to stage the world's best ever World Cup.

PM: Can I just conclude on that point, which is that, when you think about the challenges of hosting a bid like this for a world cup, they are formidable. The only work that we the Australian Government, by working really closely with colleagues in the States and Territories to make it work. But you know, if we were able to land this thing, this is three times bigger than the Olympics and an enormous global branding opportunity for Australia. And therefore I thank the state and territory colleagues for getting behind this.

And to conclude about the deliberations today. As Anna reminded me, we often describe COAG as the workhorse of the Federation. There is a lot of information there in the communiqué which may strike some of you as unremarkable and there is in that document, the product of a huge amount of work between officials and ministers and my colleagues here, over many months and in some cases, over many years.

Some of it goes right to the heart of the concerns of working families in the here and now. And you presumably ask questions about the application of the new childcare centres. And that is absolutely true. We have been working on it for a long time, they are now agreed, they are now mandatory. That is how it's going to operate. Agreements such as those we have just landed on the question of the future planning of our cities. That hasn't any precedent frankly in Australia, the fact that now the Australian Government and State Governments are working together on, how do you plan our cities long term, because we the Australian Government are going to be co-investors in the future in the infrastructure of our cities.

These are big areas of reform, quite apart from, shall I say, such as whether or not we can host the FIFA World Cup in 2018. Having said that, thank you very much, appreciate your attention and attendance.

Transcript 16964