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By John Wanna

This selection of ‘critical reflections’ on Australian public coverage bargains a worthwhile contribution to public dialogue of significant political and coverage matters dealing with our country and society. those essays are very important not just end result of the attractiveness and place of many of the participants, yet simply because they're exceedingly ‘content wealthy’ and brimming with new principles.

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The Commonwealth Government is willing to provide extra funding for health—but expects in return real reform in the sector and for more funding to result in the provision of more services. Schools In relation to schools, as the Prime Minister announced on 27 August, the three central pillars of reform that the Commonwealth aims to achieve through COAG this year are: • • • improving the quality of teaching making school reporting properly transparent lifting achievement in disadvantaged school communities, including closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in terms of literacy and numeracy achievement, as well as year 12 (or equivalent) attainments.

I think the current COAG process has now reached a point where it is apparent that the total body of reform possibilities is broader and more substantial than all of the national competition policy reforms of the 1990s. We need a bold approach to reform. And to achieve such reform, we need a new way of governing—in particular, increased cooperation between federal, state and local governments, businesses and community organisations. A renewed belief in the possibility of reform was apparent at the 3 July 2008 COAG meeting.

Different jurisdictions have different portfolio arrangements, sometimes leading to confusion and large entourages at council meetings. Some ministerial councils now have statutory functions or decision-making powers that can create ambiguities. Over the past year, the reform task has been given to a small group of COAG working groups, chaired by federal ministers, and these have achieved a great deal. However, the accountability of COAG working groups could be improved and there is a mismatch, with the states represented at an officer level and the Commonwealth at a ministerial level.

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