SA’s premier has again rejected a GST increase, while vowing to campaign for the reversal of budget cuts to health and education.
South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill says he will lead a national campaign to persuade the federal government to reverse its budget cuts to areas including health and education.
Mr Weatherill said the budget included $5.5 billion in cuts to South Australian schools and hospitals over the next decade.
After an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Mr Weatherill told reporters the measures would have severe and immediate negative effects.
They breached binding education and health agreements made between South Australia and the commonwealth, he said.
“At the heart of this budget is a deep dishonesty.”
He repeated his refusal to support a GST increase to help redress funding shortfalls.
And he agreed with Queensland Premier Campbell Newman on the need for an emergency meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and, ahead of that, he wanted to meet with his state and territory counterparts.
“The first order of business is to campaign to seek the reversal of these cuts,” he said.
He said they would make “Tony Abbott and his Liberals pay a price for every day they leave these proposals on the table”.
He said the prime minister and the Liberal Party had reacted to pressure, as evidenced in the lead-up to the election.
Mr Weatherill said the budget was “full of deception and lies” and showed Canberra governed for the privileged and advantaged, while abandoning the sick, the elderly and job-seekers.
He said a united approach would “have a good chance of resisting many of these cuts”.
SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis says his first state budget planning was back to square one, owing to the breadth, depth and scope of the federal cuts.
Health Minister Jack Snelling said the cuts would throw the SA health system into a full-blown crisis.
The 2017/18 measures alone were the equivalent of nearly 600 hospital beds, he said.