Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has reached agreement with Labor state and territory leaders over his planned health reforms.
However, Western Australia won’t be a party to the deal hammered out during intense negotiations in Canberra with talks to continue between the West and Commonwealth Governments.
Marnie Gerrard reports.
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After private meetings with the Prime Minister this morning Kristina Keneally has conceded to the stipulations of Rudd’s ambitious health overhaul.
Kristina Keneally, NSW Premier: “We are in a position to be able to have the Commonwealth retain a third of our GST.”
Midway through the day nearly all leaders of States and Territories were in agreement over plans for centralising the health system.
Only Western Australia and Victoria refused to budge.
The critical issue for them is the structure of the funding pool, not the amount of money.
Colin Barnett, WA Premier: “Now Victoria and WA are saying we will provide the money, exactly the same amount of dollars but we will pay directly into the pool.”
The Victorian leader says there has been a lot of give and take from both sides.
John Brumby, Victorian Premier: “It’s about getting additional support for patients and hospitals now and we’re all working together to achieve that.”
But discussions have been firmly deadlocked with Barnett refusing to give the Commonwealth a third of Western Australia’s GST revenue.
Colin Barnett, WA Premier: “Western Australia’s position on the GST won’t change, we will not concede on the GST.”
Other State and Territory leaders are concerned after Mr Rudd announced yesterday that the whole deal will be taken off the table if no agreement can met.
Mike Rann, SA Premier: “Let’s just hope some states don’t spoil it for the rest of us.”
But the Prime Minister isn’t giving up hope that something can be resolved.
Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister: “There is still areas of continual disagreement but we intend to give this our best shot.”
If no agreement can be reached, Mr Rudd has threatened to take the issue to a referendum a less than desirable outcome leading up to a Federal election.
Marnie Gerrard, QUT News