E&OE…

PRIME MINISTER:
Welcome everybody – premiers, chief ministers, treasurers, senior officials.

Today we’re meeting to focus on practical outcomes to deliver services more effectively; better services for the people of Australia.

We’re here as the heads of government to discuss how we can make our Federation work better with that goal of better services, greater accountability, greater responsibility.

We know that budgets are tight everywhere. There is not the same rush of revenue as we experienced during the height of the mining boom.

So we have to be very clear eyed about our choices; how do we improve our infrastructure, our essential public services, our schools and our hospitals.

There are more demands on government – as we all know as we’ve been discussing overnight – with less revenue than we’re used to in the past to pay for it.

So to deal with that I know that we’re going to work together as governments to find more effective, more transparent, more innovative ways to fund those services and to remove waste and duplication wherever we can, because that adds cost and stands in the way of good outcomes.

So we’re not here to make promises which we cannot afford.

What we’re talking about – as we all know – is a very real world of constrained resources and affordability and fiscal responsibility is critical.

We owe that to the people that put us into our positions.

So we’re seeking what we’ll have today is a rational and considered discussion – constructive one I believe – about the problems that we face and the solutions that together we can craft to address them.

So, welcome to Canberra and welcome to this COAG.