State premiers have demanded an emergency COAG meeting in Canberra after declaring the Coalition’s budget cuts unaffordable.
Lead by Tony Abbott’s longtime friend, Queensland premier Campbell Newman, state premiers have launched an attack on the prime minister, calling for the cuts to be blocked.
While Mr Abbott has asserted that no immediate impact from the cuts will be felt, Mr Newman has said pensioners in his state would suffer, losing $50 million in concessions for electricity, water and public transport from July 1.
Mr Newman asked Queenslanders to take action and said he had already been lobbying state senators to join the uprising.
“I have been ringing and giving a few people an earful because that’s how serious it is and I can tell you there are some members and senators from my state who are taking what I am saying extremely seriously,” he told the Courier Mail.
When chairing an emergency summit meeting in Sydney, Mr Newman also refused to discuss the concept of increasing taxes to cover the cuts.
“I have a belief that the federal government want us to talk about tax increases,” said Mr Newman.
“Sorry, we’re not going there.”
Budget cuts have been justified by returning the responsibility of hospitals and schools back to the state government.
In the long-term, state funding is also set to face an $80 billion cut over the next 10 years.
The group of mostly conservative premiers (from all states except Western Australia) have criticised the plan and warned that they will lobby the Senate to have the cuts blocked.