Premier's Memorandum

M2021-01 Principles and Procedures for Commonwealth-State Consultation on Treaties


The purpose of this Memorandum is to draw attention to the procedures for Commonwealth-State consultation and information provision on treaties.

Function and Subject

National Engagement and Intergovernmental Relations (1)
National Partnerships and Agreements

Detailed Outline

The Principles and Procedures for Commonwealth-State Consultation on Treaties was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments in 1996 and is attached. This document explains the basis on which the Commonwealth will deal with the States and Territories on:

  • other international instruments of sensitivity and

  • importance to States, including instruments of less than treaty status (such as memoranda of understanding with foreign jurisdictions).

In particular, the document outlines the processes for consultation and providing information.

The Commonwealth provides NSW with information on current and forthcoming treaty negotiations through the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s (DPC) Government Partnerships team.

The Commonwealth prepares National Interest Analyses (NIA) on all treaties. An NIA will accompany each treaty tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament.

There are two main consultation mechanisms: The Treaties Council and the Standing Committee on Treaties (SCOT).

The Treaties Council is made up of the Prime Minister and all Premiers and Chief Ministers. The Treaties Council facilitates consultation between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories on treaties and other international instruments of sensitivity and importance to the States and Territories.

SCOT is made up of senior Commonwealth, State and Territory officers (DPC’s Government Partnerships team represents NSW) and meets at least twice a year to:

  • monitor and report on the implementation of particular treaties where the implementation of the treaty has strategic implications, including significant cross portfolio interests, for States and Territories;

  • ensure that appropriate information is provided to States and Territories; and

  • co-ordinate as required the process for nominating State representation on delegations where this representation is appropriate.

The DPC Government Partnerships team should be consulted on all matters associated with a treaty or other international instrument before a NSW Government position is put forward. This includes responding to any requests for comment. NSW will provide coordinated whole of government responses to the Commonwealth Government on treaty matters.

Cabinet should consider significant strategic treaty matters before a State position is put to the Commonwealth. In some cases, it will be more appropriate to deal with the matter at a Heads of Government level.

The DPC Government Partnerships team is also to coordinate representation by State officials at treaty negotiations. No Ministerial Council is to appoint representatives. If the issue of State representation arises, Ministers and agencies should contact the DPC Government Partnerships team to discuss the appropriate action. It is also normal practice for the State Government whose officer is attending the negotiations to bear all costs. No cost-sharing arrangement should be entered into with other States or Territories.

The DPC Government Partnerships team is the initial contact point for all treaty matters. They can be reached at

Gladys Berejiklian MP


Who needs to know and/or comply with this?

AR Details

Date Issued
Feb 16, 2021
Review Date
Dec 31, 2022
Replaced By


02 9228 5555
Publishing Entity
Department of Premier and Cabinet
Issuing Entity