National Agreements

National Agreements define the objectives, outcomes, outputs and performance indicators, and clarify the roles and responsibilities that will guide the Commonwealth and the States in the delivery of services across a particular sector.

There are currently six National Agreements in place across healthcare, education, skills and workforce development, disability services, affordable housing and Indigenous reform.

National Healthcare Agreement (effective 25 July 2012)

The National Healthcare Agreement [PDF 87KB][RTF 376KB] affirms the commitment of the Commonwealth and the States to:

  • ensuring that there is a focus of health policy on the prevention of disease and injury and the maintenance of health, not simply the treatment of illness;
  • meeting the primary healthcare needs of all Australians efficiently through timely and quality care;
  • ensuring people with complex care needs can access comprehensive, integrated and coordinated services;
  • providing timely and appropriate high quality hospital and hospital related care to all Australians;
  • meeting the needs of older Australians through high quality, affordable health and aged care services that are appropriate to their needs, as well as enabling choice and seamless, timely transition within and across the different sectors;
  • ensuring all Australians experience best practice care that is suited to their needs and circumstances;
  • achieving health outcomes for Indigenous Australians which are comparable to the broader population and those living in rural and remote areas; and
  • a sustainable health system that can respond and adapt to future needs.

The National Health Reform Agreement [PDF 1.10MB] agreed in August 2011 is available under other related agreements.

National Education Agreement (effective 25 July 2012)

The National Education Agreement [PDF 903KB][RTF 2.4MB] affirms the commitment of the Commonwealth and the States to the objective that all Australian school students acquire the knowledge and skills to participate effectively in employment and society.

The agreement recognises that ensuring all young people have the best possible start in life is vital to the wellbeing of families, communities and the nation. High quality schooling, supported by strong community engagement, is central to Australia's future prosperity.

The agreement will contribute to shared outcomes, including:

  • ensuring that all children are engaged in and benefiting from schooling, with a goal of lifting the Year 12 attainment rate to 90 per cent by 2015;
  • ensuring children meet basic literacy and numeracy standards; and
  • continuing to improve overall literacy and numeracy achievement.

National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (effective 13 April 2012)

On 13 April 2012, COAG agreed to a revised National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development [PDF 422KB][RTF 176KB]. The Agreement identifies the long-term objectives of the Commonwealth and the States in the areas of skills and workforce development, and recognises the interest of all Governments in ensuring the skills of the Australian people are developed and utilised in the economy.

The Agreement seeks to deliver a vocational education and training (VET) system with improved quality and greater transparency for students, employers and governments; greater access to training opportunities and improved outcomes for disadvantaged students; and greater efficiency.

The reforms needed to achieve the objectives and outcomes of this Agreement include reforming training to achieve a more demand-driven and client-focused system, and to help drive the next wave of innovation and productivity.

National Disability Agreement (effective 7 December 2012)

The National Disability Agreement [PDF 257KB][RTF 202KB] commits the Commonwealth and the States to strive, through the provision of disability support services, to help people with disabilities and their carers achieve an enhanced quality of life and participate as valued members of the community.

To meet these objectives, governments have agreed to reform their services, including to:

  • improve the provision of the services and opportunities to enhance the capacity of people with disability;
  • ensure that services are person-centred and provide timely access to the necessary support needs;
  • identify, plan and respond to the development and support needs of people with disability at an early stage and at key life transition points; and
  • support the role of carers and families, including through strengthening their informal support networks.

National Affordable Housing Agreement (effective 7 December 2012)

Through the National Affordable Housing Agreement [PDF 240KB][RTF 212KB], the Commonwealth and the States have committed to the aspirational objective that all Australians have access to affordable, safe and sustainable housing which will assist them to participate in the labour force and more broadly in the community.

The Commonwealth and the States have also committed to reform directions that will enhance housing programs and services, including by improving the:

  • integration of homelessness services and other mainstream services, such as employment services;
  • operational efficiency of public housing and the employment outcomes of public housing tenants; and
  • efficiency in the supply of housing through planning reforms.

National Indigenous Reform Agreement (effective 2 November 2012)

The National Indigenous Reform Agreement [PDF 824KB][DOC 2.2MB] sets out the objectives, outcomes and outputs needed to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage. COAG has agreed to 'closing the gap' goals, including to:

  • close the current life expectancy gap within a generation;
  • halve the gap in mortality rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children under five within a decade;
  • halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students within a decade;
  • halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade;
  • in the year before formal schooling, provide all Indigenous children in remote communities with access to early childhood education within five years; and
  • halve the gap for Indigenous students aged 20 to 24 years old in Year 12, or equivalent, attainment rates by 2020.
Overarching Bilateral Indigenous Plans
State PDF
Australian Capital Territory 189KB
New South Wales 151KB
Northern Territory 306KB
Queensland 486KB
South Australia 348KB
Tasmania 345KB
Victoria 368KB
Western Australia 541KB


Superseded National Agreements
National Agreement Title PDF RTF/DOC
National Affordable Housing Agreement (to December 2012) 33KB 200KB
National Affordable Housing Agreement (to July 2012) 33KB 200KB
National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (to April 2012) 74KB 422KB
National Disability Agreement (to December 2012) 48KB 215KB
National Disability Agreement (to July 2012) 48KB 215KB
National Education Agreement (to July 2012) 491KB 2.8MB
National Healthcare Agreement (to August 2011) 127KB 441KB
National Healthcare Agreement (to July 2012) 327KB -
National Indigenous Reform Agreement (to February 2011) 465KB 1.93MB
National Indigenous Reform Agreement (to November 2012) 825KB 3MB