Andrew Constance: concerned about budget cuts to health and education. Photo: Greg Totman
NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance has expressed "deep concern" over Joe Hockey's budget announcement that the Commonwealth will cut $80 billion from health and education funding to the states over the next decade and warned a co-payment to visit the doctor could see hospitals overrun.
As he prepares to unveil the NSW budget on June 17, Mr Constance said Treasury estimates the state is being asked to find an extra $1.2 billion in health funding over the next four years.
"The NSW Government has major concerns over the Commonwealth’s budget, with what appears to be ‘cost-shifting’ in health and education services," Mr Constance said.
He said the state was also concerned about the impact of a $7 co-payment to visit a GP announced by Mr Hockey and "its potential impact on overwhelming our emergency departments."
“We need to have a long and detailed discussion with the Commonwealth about further details regarding this announcement,” Mr Constance said.
On Tuesday Mr Hockey said the federal government would rip $80 billion from schools and public hospitals to the 2024-25 financial year.
From 2017, indexation of health and education funding will change to reflect the growth in population and inflation instead of the amount of activity in each system.
It is estimated NSW schools and hospitals could face a $25.5 billion reduction in funding over the next decade.
However, Mr Constance welcomed the federal government's commitment to spend $1.5 billion on the first section of the WestConnex motorway.
“This money will allow us to fast-track the second stage of WestConnex, that will transform the way NSW commuters move through and around Australia’s global city,” he said.