Anthony Albanese says COVID-19 is not over, signing off on $760 million in funding to help the states and territories deal with the pandemic.
The prime minister chaired his first national cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders in Canberra on Friday, where health was a key topic.
A deal on pandemic-related funding was set to expire in September, but has been extended by three months.
“It clearly isn’t over yet and it would be very brave to suggest that you can make that projection,” Mr Albanese told reporters.
There are about 3000 Australians in hospital as a result of the virus, he said, which was why the federal government had committed to extending support until December 31.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said every hospital in Australia was under pressure from COVID, so the funding extension was welcome.
Beyond the COVID response, the prime minister and premiers also agreed to look at more extensive reform of the health system.
This will include the connections between GPs and hospitals, as well as practical ways to get aged care residents and NDIS participants out of hospital and into a more appropriate setting.
Work is also under way on determining the final locations for Medicare Urgent Care Clinics promised at the federal election.