The ACT Government participates in a range of intergovernmental forums, to present the ACT's point of view in discussions with the Australian Government, the States and Northern Territory. The leading intergovernmental forum is the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), which is pursuing an ambitious national reform agenda intended to provide tangible benefits to all Australians. The reform agenda delivers increased funding for core government services delivered to the ACT community. The Territory's participation in intergovernmental forums provides an opportunity for the ACT to help shape Australia's future national policies.
The COAG Reform Council (CRC) assists COAG to drive its reform agenda by assessing the performance of all governments against the reform objectives.
The Council for the Australian Federation convenes all States and Territories to discuss the merits of proposals currently before COAG. It also takes a leadership role on key national policy issues at a State level.
The Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate works with other ACT Government directorates to coordinate the development of ACT positions for intergovernmental forums, and to coordinate implementation of the ACT's commitments under intergovernmental agreements.
COAG is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia, comprising the Prime Minister, State Premiers, Territory Chief Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association.
The ACT participates as a full member of COAG. The role of COAG is to initiate, develop and monitor the implementation of policy reforms that are of national significance and which require co-operative action by Australian governments. In recent years COAG has focused on reforms in the following areas:
COAG meets on an 'as-needed' basis. Urgent or less controversial matters may also be settled out-of-session.
The outcomes of COAG meetings are contained in COAG communiqués released at the end of each meeting. Where formal agreements are reached, these may be embodied in intergovernmental agreements.
Most intergovernmental agreements arising from COAG – including National Agreements, National Partnerships and ACT-specific agreements - can be found on the Federal Financial Relations section of the COAG website.
The COAG Reform Council (CRC) has been established to help COAG drive its reform agenda. Independent of individual governments, the CRC reports directly to COAG on the implementation of COAG's nationally significant reforms.
The CRC is tasked with monitoring and assessing the performance of the Commonwealth and States and Territories in achieving the outcomes and performance benchmarks in National Agreements, National Partnerships and other agreements concluded through COAG. The CRC provides these assessments to COAG, which releases them for public scrutiny (HOTLINK).
The Chief Minister and Cabinet Directorate works with other ACT Government directorates and the CRC to ensure the ACT's performance under COAG agreements is accurately reflected in the CRC's reports.
The CRC also advises COAG on options to improve COAG's performance reporting framework and provides an overview of progress in the overall implementation of COAG's reform agenda.
CAF was formed in October 2006 to support and enhance Australia's federal system by providing an intergovernmental forum for State and Territory leaders in Australia.
CAF comprises all State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers, and chairing CAF rotates between jurisdictions.
The Chief Minister and Cabinet Directorate is responsible for co-ordinating across the ACT Government the development of ACT positions for participation in CAF meetings.
CAF generally meets immediately before COAG, or in response to significant issues being run through COAG out-of-session.
The Australian Government negotiates a broad range of international treaties with other countries. Treaties cover a broad range of matters from free trade to human rights, social security arrangements and the environment.
The Commonwealth consults the States and Territories on treaties, particularly on their implementation within jurisdictions. The main avenue for consultation is the Standing Committee on Treaties (SCOT), which meets twice every year. The network established by SCOT allows jurisdictions to consider new treaties proposed for ratification by the Australian Parliament, and co-ordinates reporting on treaties to which Australia is already a party.
A listing of intergovernmental agreements under negotiation is made public every six months.