The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council has released a report outlining the progress of the COAG reform agenda for the period of 2008 to 2013.
The COAG report, Lessons for federal reform: COAG reform agenda 2008 –2013, assesses change since 2008 and examines the effectiveness of the current framework of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations (IGA) in assisting reform.
While the report shows mixed results in some of the Closing the Gap key target areas, progress is being made in key target areas for the younger population.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child death rates have dropped, more of our young people are completing year 12, and more children in year 3 are achieving basic levels in reading. The percentage of children in year 3 who are meeting basic levels of numeracy skills has dropped slightly.
The report shows that progress is being made under the COAG reform agenda, but that the pace of reform is slow. While improvements are being made, it is clear that more needs to be done to increase the speed of reform.
The report calls for a consistent approach and continued government commitment to reforms in order to achieve greater progress.
“It may be that further progress could have been achieved if there was more consistent leadership from across government,” the report says.
Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra today, COAG Reform Council Chairperson, John Brumby, stressed that reforms of this breadth and depth take time and planning.
“An agenda of this magnitude does not happen because of good luck and good intent,” Mr Brumby said.
“It is clear that some of the agreements need stronger measures of performance and better data, but the most important ingredient needed to embed reform is cultural change.”