Australia’s National Cabinet has held its 32nd meeting in Canberra on Friday, 11th December, 2020 – its final meeting for 2020. Leaders discussed Australia’s economic recovery, the COVID-19 response, the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, the Framework for National Reopening by Christmas, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment and measures to get the economy moving again.
In the meeting, the National Cabinet discussed priorities for 2021 to support Australia’s COVID-19 recovery. As per a Press Release on PM Scott Morrison’s website, the following are of high priority in 2021.
- Delivering the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement;
- Delivering a new National Skills Agreement to improve vocational education and training;
- Expediting infrastructure projects to support job creation;
- Ensuring more affordable and reliable energy, including progressing National Electricity Market and gas-market reforms;
- Promoting economic growth and job creation in rural and regional Australia.
National Cabinet agreed that Infrastructure Australia will now evaluate project proposals which require more than $250 million in Commonwealth funding, an increase from the existing threshold of $100 million.
The increase will better focus Infrastructure Australia‘s business case evaluation process on the key projects that will help rebuild the Australian economy and support jobs into the future.
All states and territories have advocated for the increase and it is supported by Infrastructure Australia.
The increase will be reflected in an updated Statement of Expectations to be issued by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Development, and will take effect from 1 January 2021.
National Cabinet will meet again on Friday 5 February, 2021. The entire Press Release can be found at:
What is the National Cabinet?
National Cabinet is the Australian intergovernmental decision-making forum composed of the Prime Minister and state and territory premiers and chief ministers. Originally established on 13 March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, National Cabinet replaced the now-defunct Council of Australian Governments (COAG) as the primary intergovernmental forum on 29 May 2020, citing excessive bureaucracy and infrequent meetings. National Cabinet is composed of the main forum (prime minister, premiers, and chief ministers), and specialised committees focusing on: rural and regional Australia, skills, infrastructure, health, transport, population and migration, and energy.