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    3.5 Ministerial Councils

    Ministerial Councils are defined as a formal meeting of Ministers of the Crown from more than four jurisdictions, usually including the Commonwealth, and the States and Territories of the Australian Federation, which meet on a regular basis for the purpose of intergovernmental consultation and cooperation, joint policy development and joint action between governments.

    It is the responsibility of Ministers to ensure they are prepared to represent their government appropriately at Council meetings. This is of particular importance where Council resolutions require commitment, especially financial commitment, from respective governments. Ministers must not commit the government to a course of action without the prior approval of Cabinet.

    Issues with cross portfolio or whole of government implications, or of a controversial nature in particular, may require careful prior consideration by Cabinet. The operation of Ministerial Councils provides for the agenda to be finalised three weeks prior to the meeting to allow for consideration by Cabinet.  Where new issues or alternative proposals arise at meetings on which a Minister believes further consideration by Cabinet is required, it is the responsibility of that Minister to make this position clear to the Council.

    Within one month of the meeting, or within one month of the receipt of the settled minutes, Ministers must provide a report to the Premier on the outcomes of that meeting. The Premier will advise the Minister whether or not the report needs to be considered by Cabinet, either as an Information or Policy submission. Alternatively, the Premier may advise the Minister that the report does not require Cabinet consideration and will indicate the appropriate course of action.

    Further details are outlined in the "Protocols for the Operation of Ministerial Councils" approved by the Council of Australian Governments.

    Enquiries in this regard should be directed to the Policy Division, Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

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    Last updated:
    18 May, 2016
    Last reviewed:
    17 July, 2009