Former premier John Brumby says Australia’s federation needs an independent body to keep track of the progress of governments.

The states need a watchdog to make sure they don’t hide what they are doing on issues such as education and hospitals, a former premier argues.

For the past eight years the COAG Reform Council has been that watchdog, but it won’t exist after July 1 following a decision by the Abbott government.

Council chairman John Brumby worries there won’t be anyone to measure whether reforms are good or bad for the nation, especially those that make the system more competitive.

“Who’s going to be the judge of whether what’s happening in Queensland is working or what’s happening in Western Australia is working?,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Before the council was established in 2006, the commonwealth produced data showing one thing while the states could put together their own reports showing something completely different.