The purpose of this Memorandum is to clarify protocols for NSW’s participation in intergovernmental Ministers’ meetings.
This Memorandum should be read in conjunction with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Guidance for Intergovernmental Meetings (October 2020) and the NSW Cabinet Practice Manual.
The purpose of this Memorandum is to clarify the protocols for NSW’s participation in intergovernmental Ministers’ meetings.
The Intergovernmental Relations System
National Cabinet is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia. Its role is to initiate, develop and monitor matters of national significance that require coordinated action by all Australian Governments. It consists of the Prime Minister and State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers.
Under the federal relations architecture agreed by National Cabinet in September 2022, select ministerial councils report to National Cabinet annually on workplans and regularly on key priorities tasked by National Cabinet. The list of councils may change, as National Cabinet’s priorities are refreshed.
Ministerial Councils which are not reflected in the federal relations architecture and do not report directly to National Cabinet can continue to meet as needed, including to fulfil any statutory obligations.
This memorandum applies to all interjurisdictional Ministers’ meetings.
Approval of NSW positions
The positions taken by NSW Ministers at any intergovernmental meeting represent the views and position of NSW as a whole. Accordingly, it is essential that the interests and views of the NSW Government are accurately reflected. Ministers should not agree to matters at Ministers’ meetings unless adequate notice of them has been given beforehand.
Portfolio Ministers should, at the earliest opportunity after priorities for an interjurisdictional forum have been set, seek the Premier’s approval to bring forward a Cabinet Submission setting out the overarching policy authority needed to ensure effective NSW participation in the forum. This Submission should be principles-based, covering the key policy positions NSW would seek to pursue under the priority reform areas identified by National Cabinet or Chair of the Ministers’ meeting forum. It should be titled ‘[committee name] Work Program - NSW Strategic Positions’.
When Cabinet consideration is required, the following should be explained to Cabinet in a Cabinet Submission:
key priorities NSW will seek to progress through the interjurisdictional forum,
any substantive new policy positions that Ministers propose to put to the forum,
the proposed NSW position on all items to be considered by the Ministers’ forum (where known), and
detailed advice on the result of any interjurisdictional or interagency consultations.
Following initial Cabinet consideration, Ministers would not be required to return to Cabinet before every interjurisdictional meeting and should bring forward additional Cabinet Submissions only where:
a deviation from any of the agreed positions is proposed; and/or
approval is required to finalise an aspect of the forum’s work program, such as executing an intergovernmental agreement.
Approval for NSW positions on significant new policy matters proposed for decision at individual interjurisdictional meetings should otherwise be sought through exchange of letters between the representative Minister and the Premier, following consultation with relevant portfolio Ministers.
Where it is unclear whether Cabinet endorsement is required, agencies should consult with their Cluster Cabinet Liaison Officer, who may consult the DPC Government Partnerships team as required.
Consultation and early engagement
Before taking part in Ministers’ meetings, Ministers must ensure that a coordinated NSW position is developed, in consultation with all relevant portfolio Ministers and their agencies. Officers are encouraged to actively engage their colleagues in other agencies and portfolios early, including to seek feedback on the matters they intend on taking to the meeting. If appropriate and where possible, agencies should also consult with their colleagues in other jurisdictions to ensure the Premier is fully briefed ahead of each meeting.
For every Ministerial Council meeting, Ministers should provide the Premier (via DPC at [email protected]) with the following:
the dates of meetings at the earliest opportunity
upon receipt, copies of meeting agendas, papers and NSW briefing materials
outcomes and minutes (including initial draft summary of the meeting) from the meetings at the earliest opportunity.
Links to resources
For general queries, please contact the Government Partnerships Team, Department of Premier and Cabinet – email: [email protected].
Chris Minns MP
Who needs to know and/or comply with this?
- Date Issued
- May 5, 2023
- Review Date
- Mar 1, 2027
- M2022-01 - Protocols for NSW Participation in Intergovernmental Ministers’ Meetings
- M1993-02 Protocols for Operation of Ministerial Councils and Review of All Councils by Heads of Government
- M1995- 07 Ministerial Councils
- M2001-08 COAG Reform of Ministerial Councils
- M2002-12 Ministerial Councils
- M2003-10 Ministerial Councils
- M2009-09 Ministerial Councils
- M2012-05 Council of Australian Governments New Council System
- M2013-07 Protocols for NSW Participation in COAG Ministerial Councils
- Replaced By