Labor's focussed approach a welcome change - now time for results

Senator Marise Payne, Shadow Minister for COAG, has welcomed Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s calls to streamline the COAG process and focus on four reform themes, urging the PM to follow up the positive talk with action.

"We welcome Julia Gillard’s acknowledgement that COAG - like her government before the last election - had lost its way," Senator Payne said.

"Unlike her predecessor Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister has shown she is willing to listen to advice from stakeholders like the Business Council of Australia, the Treasury and the COAG Reform Council, along with the opposition, and sharpen the focus of COAG.

"After being in denial so long over the waste and rorts in her own Building the Education Revolution program, it is encouraging to see that the Prime Minister is open to constructive criticism.

"The COAG agenda has been overloaded for far too long, with very little in the way of reform being achieved.

"We look forward to the PM explaining exactly how we will achieve better workforce participation, a national economy driven by our competitive advantages, a more sustainable and liveable Australia and better health services.

"It is now time for the PM to back up the positive talk by working with the states and territories to produce a clear plan to achieve these objectives at the February 14 COAG meeting."