COAG Standing Councils are established to:
a) achieve COAG’s strategic themes by pursuing and monitoring priority issues of national significance which require sustained, collaborative effort; and
b) address key areas of shared Commonwealth, State and Territory responsibility and funding.
The Standing Council will pursue the following COAG strategic themes as its major focus areas:
1. Long-Term Strategy for Participation
2. A Sustainable and Liveable Australia
3. Closing the Gap for Indigenous Australians.
Chair rotates annually between Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers who are members of the Council.
[The particular Minister to be the first Chair of the Council will be determined at the first meeting.]
Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand Ministers with responsibility for community, housing and disability matters, and the Australian Local Government Association.
Scope of Standing Council
The Council provides a forum for member Governments to discuss matters of mutual interest and progress key national reforms in the areas of social and subsidised housing (excluding homelessness, which is the responsibility of the Select Council on Homelessness), child protection, disability, carers, seniors, concessions, disaster recovery and community services. The Council will work collaboratively to promote coordinated action nationally in each of these key policy areas.
Member Governments will work through the Council to progress measures to improve the welfare of disadvantaged citizens within the community, particularly through high-quality disability, housing and community services. The Council will also play a role in progressing national partnerships and agreements.
The Council will work closely with related Standing Councils, mostly notably the Standing Council on Health, the Select Council on Disability Reform, Select Council on Homelessness, and the Standing Council on Law and Justice.
Priority Issues of National Significance
The Council’s priority issues are:
1. Implementation of the National Disability Strategy (NDS) which aims to deliver outcome focussed initiatives that respond to the needs of people with disability, their families and carers;
2. Oversee the implementation of the first three year action plan (2009-2012) for the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children and the development and implementation of the second three year action plan (2012-15); and
3. Progression of key social and subsidised housing reforms [noting that ongoing responsibility will be decided by COAG after it has reviewed the outcomes of the Housing Supply and Affordability Reform agenda].
In pursuing its priority issues of national significance, the Council will take into account the cross-cutting issues of Indigenous disadvantage, gender equality, homelessness, juvenile justice, and equal access to services for persons with a disability and those in regional Australia.
Legislative and Governance Responsibilities
National Agreements, National Partnerships and Inter-governmental Agreements
Responsibilities under the following National Agreements and National Partnerships:
· National Disability Agreement
· National Disability Strategy
· National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children
· Certain Concessions for Pensioners’ and Seniors Card Holders National Partnership
· National Partnership Agreement for Transitioning Responsibilities for Aged Care and Disability Services (currently under negotiation)
· National Affordable Housing Agreement
· National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing
· Nation Building and Jobs Plan National Partnership – Social Housing.
The Council will assess the consistency of relevant National Agreements and National Partnership Agreements with the National Disability Strategy at review points under the Agreements, and consider the inclusion of strategies and performance indicators to ensure the needs of people with disability are addressed.
COAG considers that, as a general rule, Councils would not require more than two face to face meetings a year.
Meetings of Councils and officials will utilise the TelePresence network as much as possible to meet and to transact business, to minimise environmental impacts and meeting and travel costs.
Other operational arrangements are to be made by the Ministerial Council and do not require COAG endorsement.
Councils will make decisions on the basis of consensus wherever possible, unless specific voting rules are included in relevant governing instrument(s).
Where necessary, the principle of one vote per jurisdiction would apply.
The Council will provide COAG with an annual status report, due 31 July, on:
· the progress/completion of its priority issues against agreed milestones;
· the contribution made towards meeting the Closing the Gap targets;
· any additional priorities that it believes should be addressed and submitted for COAG consideration;
· key outputs or achievements from other inter-jurisdictional activities; and
· decisions taken as a result of its legislative or governance responsibilities and changes made to legislation or agreements.
The Council will also provide a draft work plan for the following financial year annually by 31 May.