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Roxon hopeful over reforms in face of looming veto by states
HEALTH Minister Nicola Roxon has denied the $50 billion Council of Australian Governments (COAG) health reforms are collapsing, despite a number of states looking unlikely to agree to the deal as its deadline looms.
Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has signalled he will push for changes to the deal negotiated by his predecessor John Brumby when COAG meets next week on 14 February, while Western Australia has stood firm on its decision not to hand over a portion of its GST to fund the reforms.
NSW Liberal Opposition leader Barry O’Farrell – likely to take power in next month’s state elections, according to recent polls – also has concerns about how the funding is divided up.
Last week, Ms Roxon admitted the deal was unlikely to be finalised at the next COAG meeting, but was confident of winning over the states by the 1 July deadline.
Dr James Gillespie, deputy director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, warned the minister faced an uphill battle, describing parts of the agreement signed up to last year as “unworkable in [their] current form”.