Premier Denis Napthine “pulled no punches”. Photo: Damian White Tony Abbott: had a “long and strong” conversation with Dr Napthine. Photo: Andrew Meares
Premier Denis Napthine has “pulled no punches” in venting his anger at Prime Minister Tony Abbott over federal health, education and concession cuts during a morning phone call.
Dr Napthine said the state government would not increase taxes or cut services, despite the state having to deal with a 10-year $20 billion shortfall to health and education services.
He also indicated that the impact of the budget was still being processed.
Dr Napthine spoke twice to the Prime Minister on Thursday about the federal budget.
“I had a long and strong conversation with Tony Abbott, and he rang me back about five minutes later,’’ the Premier told radio station 3AW.
Dr Napthine said the state government was disappointed that Victoria was not getting a fair share and that there had been no consultation.
“Making decisions that impact from the first of July, six weeks down the track, after we’ve produced our budget, is unreasonable, unfair and certainly not the best way to develop a positive relationship,’’ Dr Napthine said.
Dr Napthine repeated that Victoria needed a “fairer”, bigger, share of GST revenue but said the rate did not need to be increased.
“We don’t need a bigger pool. What we need is our fair share,” he said.
With major cuts to come into effect from 2018, Dr Napthine promised “to absolutely shake the Federal Government from their top to their bottom so that they understand their responsibility to meet their share of public hospital payments”.
Asked if the Prime Minister had broken promises, the Premier said the Mr Abbott was dealing with a difficult budget situation.
The Baillieu government vehemently attacked the former Labor federal government when it made changes to hospital funding in 2011, which resulted in Victoria losing $107 million.
“Feral might not be the right be word but I am absolutely angry, I am frustrated and I am absolutely on the front foot on these matters,” Dr Napthine said.
“I will fight for Victoria.”
The Premier also attacked a “hidden landmine” in the form of a $300 million cut to concession funding that will cause a $73-$75 million shortfall to Victorian concessions, which Dr Napthine said his government would fix with state money.
“It was done without consultation, without notice, which will hurt the Victorian community and if we weren’t in a strong budget position, this would be devastating to low income families,’’ Dr Napthine said.
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