There has been a change in tone from the NSW Premier Mike Baird, who on Wednesday described the federal budget as a “flick pass” that sent his state the bill for Australia’s budget woes.
After $80 billion in health and education funding was cut, Baird called an emergency meeting of state premiers, who are left scrambling to fund their schools and hospitals.
The meeting is still going ahead, though today Baird appeared alongside the prime minister in a joint press conference, saying he wanted to work with the Federal Government.
However, Baird, who earlier described the budget as a “kick in the guts” said nothing had changed in terms of his concerns over spending cuts.
“The Prime Minister and the federal Treasurer, they have a job to do to get the budget back onto a sustainable path for the future of this nation, and we absolutely support them in that initiative,” Baird said.
“We’ll be coming together and we’ll be putting forward proposals to the Prime Minister and the federal Treasurer on working that out together, and I’ve been very heartened to receive a call from the Prime Minister to say exactly that.
“He wants to listen to our concerns, he wants to work together, and I’m very confident we’ll be able to do that.”
There is concern the spending cuts could lead the states, which have limited means to raise extra revenue from residents, to lobby for an increase in the GST. Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has also suggested that states should receive a bigger share of the income tax collected from their residents.
Abbott urged the states to include any of their ideas in submissions to his government’s federalism white paper process.
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