About COAG


What is COAG?

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia.

The members of COAG are the Prime Minister, state and territory Premiers and Chief Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA). The Prime Minister chairs COAG.

The role of COAG is to promote policy reforms that are of national significance, or which need co-ordinated action by all Australian governments.

COAG meets as needed, usually twice a year, though at times it has met up to four times in a year. COAG may also settle issues out-of-session by correspondence.

The outcomes of COAG meetings are contained in communiqués released at the end of each meeting. Where formal agreements are reached, these may be embodied in intergovernmental agreements, including National Agreements and National Partnership Agreements.


A strong record of achievement

COAG's reform agenda is broad-ranging and focusses on improving the current and future wellbeing of all Australians.

COAG has a strong record of driving reforms that have improved the lives of all Australians. For example, micro-economic reform linked to national competition policy in the mid-1990s left a legacy of a more competitive, efficient and flexible economy which has enabled Australia to meet a number of economic challenges in the last 15 years.

COAG will continue to drive reforms that are vital to Australia’s future.

For more information on COAG's reform agenda and current priorities, see the Reform Agenda section of this website.


COAG Councils

COAG is supported by ministerial-level Councils that facilitate consultation and cooperation between the Commonwealth and the states and territories in specific policy areas. COAG Councils pursue and monitor priority issues of national significance and take joint action to resolve issues that arise between governments. Councils also develop policy reforms for consideration by COAG, and oversee the implementation of policy reforms agreed by COAG.


Mutual Recognition of Goods and Occupations

The Commonwealth, states and territories jointly implement the mutual recognition principle in Australian law. New Zealand is included through the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement.

For more information, see the Mutual Recognition of Goods and Occupations section of this website.


The Federal Financial Relations Framework

On 29 November 2008, COAG agreed the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations. It established a new framework for the Commonwealth’s financial relations with states and territories. The framework came into effect on 1 January 2009, representing the single most significant shift in Commonwealth-state relations for decades.

For more information, see the Federal Financial Relations Framework section of this website.