Premiers to fight health cuts at COAG meeting

Friday's COAG meeting in Canberra will focus on indigenous issues.
Friday's COAG meeting in Canberra will focus on indigenous issues.

State premiers plan to fight back against proposed health funding changes as they arrive in Canberra ahead of Friday's Council of Australian Governments meeting.

The COAG agenda includes a new hospital funding agreement, which will reportedly see the Turnbull government take a tough line on capping health spending.

Under the deal, Canberra would continue to pay 45 per cent of the cost of hospital funding and keep growth in federal spending capped at 6.5 per cent per year.

"If Mr Turnbull thinks we're gonna sign on and validate the fact that they have broken their promises, they've not funded health properly and patients are suffering, well he's got another thing coming," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Thursday.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said he planned to fight cuts to healthcare funding.

"The federal government seems to have enough money to put massive company tax cuts in but they can't fund the basic services that South Australians demand," Mr Weatherill told reporters.

But NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said states need to be accountable for their own spending.

"It's only fair to states who do the right thing by their citizens to make sure we get a fair go and that's certainly the case I'll be putting today," she told reporters.

The premiers and chief ministers will be briefed by indigenous leaders who have been meeting in Canberra since Wednesday, as the federal government reviews the Closing the Gap program.

They will then have dinner with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to informally discuss issues of the day, before a formal meeting on Friday.

Reconciliation Australia chief executive Karen Mundine called for an indigenous voice in parliament to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices were heard.

"This is about more than setting targets. We need a structural solution to a structural problem," she said.

Premiers will also discuss the protection of children and cyber-bullying, with Queensland leading the charge on reform.

"I am fundamentally concerned about the emotional impact that this is having on our students and the tragic consequences," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.