Napthine's angry phone call to Abbott

A MULTI-BILLION-dollar federal funding shortfall drove Premier Denis Napthine to make a robust telephone call to Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday.

Dr Napthine told The Standard he expressed “in no uncertain terms” to the Prime Minister that he was “disappointed” with the federal budget cuts to Victoria’s health and education sectors.

The South West Coast MP said the state government would not increase taxes or cut services, despite having to deal with a 10-year, $20 billion shortfall for hospitals, schools and other services statewide.

He also indicated that the impact of the budget was still being processed.

“There’s no doubt we are very disappointed with how the federal government has handled funding for Victoria,” Dr Napthine said.

“We understand the federal government is dealing with a difficult budget and the challenges they face but that should not come at the cost of Victoria’s hospitals and Victoria’s schools.

“In my discussions with Tony Abbott, I expressed my disappointment with how (consultation) was handled and I urged, in no uncertain terms, that further discussions are necessary and changes need to be made.”

In an interview with Fairfax Radio station 3AW yesterday, Dr Napthine indicated that he spoke twice to the Prime Minister 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 said on the Neil Mitchell program. “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.”

Asked by Neil Mitchell if the Prime Minister had broken promises, Dr Napthine said Mr Abbott was dealing with a difficult budget situation.

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