Workshop on Reassessing the Roles and Responsibilities of Australia’s Federal Governments – International Comparisons

The Forum of Federations in collaboration with the Victoria Department of Premier and Cabinet, held a series of events from the 11- 12 December. This series explored international experiences in federal reform and offered Australian officials, academic and stakeholders the opportunity to discuss options for reform within the Australian federation with experts from Canada, Germany and the United States.

The Australia’s governments are currently assessing the division of competences and areas of responsibility in service delivery. ‘The reform of the federation: practical application of roles and responsibilities’ was held in support of this process. The Australian Commonwealth Government has committed to produce, working with the States and Territories, a White Paper on the Reform of the Federation. The White Paper seeks to clarify roles and responsibilities to ensure that, as far as possible, the States and Territories are sovereign in their own sphere.

The Forum and Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, over two days, hosted three events and small group exchanges in support of this White Paper process. Presentations focused on adding value to the current Australian debate on the future of its federal system by sharing findings from international experience in three critical areas.

Federal financial relations Forum Chairman Prof. Dr. Georg Milbradt, presented ‘Insights from the German Federal Reform Experience: Cooperative and Competitive Federalism’

Health Andre Juneau, Forum Senior Advisor, discussed ‘Canadian Federalism, Health Care and Cooperation Mechanisms in a Decentralised System’

Education Prof. Kenneth Wong, Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair for Education Policy Director, Urban Education Policy Program, Brown University, described ‘Education and Federalism in the United States: Accountability, Equity, and Innovation’.

Australia is a partner country of the Forum it liaison is the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet.

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