State and territory leaders will go to Canberra next week for talks on hospital funding and other national issues with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Mr Albanese will host the premiers and chief ministers at the official residence, The Lodge, on June 16 before chairing his first national cabinet the following day.
“There is much work to be done on federal-state relations and streamlining the way that our nation works,” Mr Albanese told reporters in Darwin on Wednesday, having returned from a trip to Indonesia.
Last week there was a concerted call from leaders for health to be a key issue for the meeting, with the priority being extending the COVID response partnership which is due to expire in September.
In the medium term, state and territory leaders need greater support for elective surgery, which in some of the larger states has come to a halt.
The hospitals and health funding national partnership will also need renegotiating in the long-term.
The partnership started as 50-50 under Kevin Rudd, before Tony Abbott trimmed it back to a 40 per cent federal share.
Malcolm Turnbull brought it back to a 45 per cent contribution from the Commonwealth, but state and territory leaders say it should be brought back to 50 per cent.
Doctors say healthcare reform is long overdue, with public hospitals struggling to meet demand and general practices and primary care are not being fully supported to take some of the pressure off.
There are also calls for early childhood education and care to be added to the national cabinet agenda.
“The evidence is overwhelming on the impact of good quality early learning in fuelling children’s development and giving them a good start in life,” Thrive by Five director Jay Weatherill said.