News National Liberal premiers slam budget

Liberal premiers slam budget

Mike Baird has stood by the changes to ICAC despite accusations he had ulterior motives. Photo: AAP
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The Abbott government has ignited a battle with state governments over budget cuts.

The federal budget handed down on Tuesday included $80 billion in cuts to school and hospital funding to the state and territory governments.

Here’s how Premiers reacted today after digesting the federal budget:

The NSW reaction

NSW Premier Mike Baird has lashed out at the Abbott government, saying the federal budget is a “kick in the guts” for people in his state.

The premier said he was surprised the federal government was shifting its budgetary problems to the states to solve.

“What services would (they) like us to cut here in NSW on the back of the funding cuts that we’ve seen overnight?” he asked.

He singled out health cuts as a major concern, saying it created a “massive burden” on the states.

Mr Baird dismissed suggestions that federal funding cuts to NSW will force his government to push the Commonwealth for a rise in the GST rate and base.

He acknowledged the federal budget cuts could affect NSW’s triple-A credit rating.

The Victorian reaction

Victorian Treasurer Michael O’Brien said the state government put extra funds into hospitals and schools in its budget last week to help students and patients, not the federal government.

“We didn’t put that extra money in so that the federal government can take money out,” Mr O’Brien told reporters on Wednesday.

“That is something that we don’t think is fair or sustainable.”

He said the Victorian budget had not factored in federal money the government was not confident was coming.

Victoria’s medical and health research sector and infrastructure projects would benefit from federal Treasurer Joe Hockey’s first budget, Mr O’Brien said.

Asked if the federal government should increase the GST, Mr O’Brien said tax reform should not be code for tax increases.

Mr O’Brien said Victoria just wanted back its share of the GST.

The Queensland reaction

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has called for an emergency COAG meeting, saying the Abbott government kept state leaders in the dark about budget funding cuts.

State governments are unhappy that federal Treasurer Joe Hockey is shifting the burden of schools and hospitals funding on to the states.

Mr Newman says the federal government has not been transparent over what he’s called “unacceptable cuts”.

He says the changes were not discussed at the recent COAG meeting.

The Tasmanian reaction

Tasmania’s government has pledged to stick up for the state once it gets a grip on the implications of the federal budget.

Will Hodgman’s new Liberal state government admitted the budget was tough but has stopped short of slamming it like its interstate colleagues.

Mr Hodgman and Treasurer Peter Gutwein did not face the media on Wednesday, leaving it to the minister for the new portfolio of state growth, Matthew Groom, to respond.

“This budget is less than 24-hours old,” Mr Groom told reporters in Hobart.

“We’ve got to work through this carefully. We’ve got to be mature and sensible about this. But I will make this commitment – if there are adverse consequences for the state of Tasmania out of this budget, in particular in areas like health and education … we will take it up to the federal government.”

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– with AAP