Morrison offers states $1.25b health boost


The Morrison government is set to offer the states and territories an extra $1.25 billion for health services such as cancer treatment and mental health.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will sit down with the premiers and chief ministers in Adelaide on Wednesday for his first Council of Australian Governments meeting since taking over in August.

The $1.25 billion Community Health and Hospitals Program will fund projects and services in every state and territory.

The prime minister is attempting to blunt one of federal Labor’s most potent campaign attack lines by throwing big money at health.

The coalition program is about $500 million more than Labor’s proposed “Better Hospitals” fund.

Projects covered under the scheme include specialist services such as cancer treatment, rural health infrastructure, drug and alcohol treatment, disease management and mental health.

“We will deliver more doctors, more nurses and more health services into every state and territory,” Mr Morrison said.

“This is the tangible benefit of a strong economy and it’s why I am so committed to keeping our economy strong.”

The program is designed to complement Commonwealth spending on public hospitals.

Ahead of the national leaders meeting, Mr Morrison has also asked each of the states and territories to nominate areas to send new migrants.

More international students are expected to move to regional areas and states get full control over federal infrastructure funding if NSW gets its way.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian wants more control over migration as her state battles with congestion due to years of under-investment in infrastructure.

“For far too long, NSW has been burdened with ballooning population growth without us being properly consulted on the targets, where people will live and what services and infrastructure growing communities will need,” she said ahead of Wednesday’s meeting.

NSW wants more international students to go to the regions, with figures showing 98.8 per cent of 220,000 students in NSW study in Sydney.

The state is also calling for “complete discretion” on where federal infrastructure funding is spent, more migration data, and more say on where migrants go.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall wants more international students, skilled migrants and to retain more school leavers and university graduates.

Mr Morrison is also set to raise the issue of governments paying small businesses on time, and will seek an agreement to settle accounts within 20 days.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wants to talk about euthanasia, as part of the discussion around aged care, and will again raise the issue of cyber-bullying.

With a NSW election in March and a federal poll in May, the leaders will also receive a report on how to improve the cybersecurity of electoral systems.

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