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Deal or no deal? Albo pours cold water on hopes for 50/50 hospital funding

Politics

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has poured cold water on a call by state premiers for a 50-50 split on hospital funding.

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Ahead of the first national cabinet meeting for Albanese on Friday, premiers and chief ministers have called for an increase in the federal government’s share of hospital funding.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said health reform would be “front and centre” for her and her colleagues.

Albanese said there was “nothing new” in the premier’s call.

“And there is nothing new in my response,” he said.

“We are meeting this evening. I look forward to working constructively with state premiers and chief ministers.”

He said the meeting would occur in the context of being left with $1 trillion in debt by the Morrison government.

“We are not in a position to do everything we would like to do immediately.”

However, the prime minister said Labor was committed to urgent care clinics and more support for primary health care.

It is understood the federal government could agree on an extension of pandemic-related health funding, which is due to expire in September.

Albanese said one of his agenda items would be productivity reform.

Labour market shortages and energy will also be discussed.

The prime minister said he would also talk to the premiers about involving local government, which had a place at the table under the former Council of Australian Governments format.

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