Commonwealth-State Relations

Commonwealth-State Relations

The ACT Government is a member of several inter-governmental forums including the National Cabinet, the National Federation Reform Council and the Council for the Australian Federation. Participants represent the ACT in discussions about national policy issues and collaborate with the Australian Government and State and Territory government leaders to progress work on issues of national significance.

The Commonwealth-State Relations team within Policy and Cabinet Division supports the participation of the Chief Minister and Head of Service at these forums by providing advice on ACT and national policy issues.

The Commonwealth-State Relations team also maintains the ACT Government’s relationships with Commonwealth, state and territory government officials through various sub forums.

National Cabinet

The National Cabinet was established on 13 March 2020 and meets regularly to collaborate on issues of national significance and importance. The National Cabinet is chaired by the Prime Minister and comprises all state and territory Premiers and Chief Ministers.

The National Cabinet has, to date, primarily focused on Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recovery from COVID-19.

The National Cabinet receives regular briefings from a range of experts and advisory bodies including:

Further information on the National Cabinet including meeting outcomes can be found at:

National Cabinet Reform Committees

The National Cabinet has established five National Cabinet Reform Committees (NCRCs) in the following priority areas:

The NCRCs are made up of relevant portfolio ministers from across the Commonwealth, states and territories.

In addition to the NCRCs, the National Cabinet agreed that the Council on Federal Financial Relations will progress work on the priority reform area of population planning.

The National Federation Reform Council

On 29 May 2020, the National Cabinet agreed to establish the National Federation Reform Council (NFRC) to replace the former Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

The NFRC meets annually and comprises the Prime Minister, First Ministers and Treasurers of all Australian jurisdictions and the President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).

The NFRC considers issues of national importance not otherwise considered by the National Cabinet and the response to COVID-19. The NFRC has met twice since its establishment and has discussed matters including:

The ACT is represented at the NFRC by the Chief Minister and supported by the ACT Head of Service and Under Treasurer.

Further information on the NFRC including meeting outcomes can be found at:

National Federation Reform Council Taskforces

The NFRC Taskforces progress work in priority areas critical to the national agenda. Representation comprises the relevant portfolio Minister from each jurisdiction, chaired by the corresponding Commonwealth portfolio Minister.

Taskforces continue work in the critical areas of women’s safety, Indigenous affairs and veterans’ wellbeing.

Further information on the NFRC Taskforces including Terms of Reference can be found at:

Council for the Australian Federation

The Council for the Australian Federation (CAF) was formed in October 2006 to support and enhance Australia's federal system by providing an intergovernmental forum for State and Territory leaders in Australia. Membership comprises all state and territory First Ministers and chairing of CAF rotates annually between jurisdictions.

The ACT last chaired CAF in 2018.

CAF also meets at First Secretaries and First Deputies levels.

Further information on CAF can be found at:

First Secretaries Group

The First Secretaries Group (FSG) is a senior officials’ inter-jurisdictional forum chaired by the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and comprising Secretaries and Directors-General from First Ministers’ departments.

The FSG facilitates engagement between the Commonwealth and states and territories and considers policy issues and provides advice prior to discussion by First Ministers at National Cabinet.

The National Cabinet also tasks the First Secretaries with critical policy work.

The ACT is represented at FSG by the Head of Service.

First Deputies Group

The First Deputies Group (FDG) is a deputy senior officials’ inter-jurisdictional policy forum comprising Deputy Secretaries and Deputy Directors-General from First Ministers’ departments.

FDG supports FSG to progress policy issues related to the COVID-19 response and tasking from the National Cabinet.

The ACT is represented at FDG by the Deputy Director-General, Policy and Cabinet Division.

The Council on Federal Financial Relations

The Council on Federal Financial Relations (CFFR), comprising the Commonwealth Treasurer as Chair and all state and territory Treasurers, is responsible for overseeing the financial relationship between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments.

The ACT is represented at this forum by the Chief Minister in his capacity as Treasurer of the ACT.

Further information on CFFR can be found at:


For further information, please contact