Commonwealth-State Relations

Commonwealth-State Relations

The ACT Government participates in several intergovernmental forums including the National Cabinet and the Council for the Australian Federation. Participants represent the ACT in discussions about national policy issues and agreements and collaborate with Australian Government and state and territory government leaders to progress work on issues of national significance.

The Commonwealth-State Relations branch within the Policy and Cabinet Division supports participation by the ACT Chief Minister, ACT Head of Service and senior executives by providing critical analysis and advice on national policy issues.

The Commonwealth-State Relations team maintains the ACT Government’s relationships with Commonwealth and state and territory government officials through various sub-forums and officials level working groups including the First Secretaries Group and First Deputies Group.

National Cabinet

The National Cabinet was established on 13 March 2020 and meets regularly to collaborate on matters of national significance and importance. The National Cabinet is chaired by the Prime Minister and comprises all state premiers and territory chief ministers.

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is invited to attend National Cabinet and the Council of Federal Financial Relations (CFFR) once a year to ensure that all levels of Government are represented at these national forums and brings an awareness of local government’s role in progressing national policy priorities.

Current, new and emerging priorities of the National Cabinet are detailed on the Australian Federation website along with further information on the National Cabinet including meeting outcomes can be found at:

Ministerial Councils

The National Cabinet agreed to a revised federation architecture and Ministerial Council arrangements on 30 September 2022, to ensure Ministers progress their portfolio and National Cabinet priorities in a structure that promotes collaboration and results-driven decision making.

Membership of Ministerial Councils includes relevant portfolio Ministers from the Commonwealth, states and territories.

Revised arrangements saw the implementation of a direct reporting line for Ministerial Councils directly tasked by National Cabinet and those that further National Cabinet’s focus on productivity growth.

Ministerial Councils that currently have a direct reporting line include:

Those Ministerial Councils that do not report directly to National Cabinet are still able to meet as needed to progress important regulatory, statutory and priority issues.

Further information on the Ministerial Councils can be found at:

Council for the Australian Federation

The Council for the Australian Federation (CAF) was established 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. The CAF chair 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 state and territory 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 ACT Head of Service.

First Deputies Group

The First Deputies Group (FDG) is a deputy senior officials’ inter-jurisdictional policy forum chaired by the Deputy Secretary, Social Policy, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and comprising Deputy Secretaries and Deputy Directors-General from state and territory First Ministers’ departments.

FDG supports FSG to progress policy issues and other taskings from the National Cabinet.

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


For further information, please contact