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Premier Mike Baird warns federal budget cuts could force 300 hospital beds to close

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Coalition popularity slumps

Polls reveal a dramatic slump in support for the government and Prime Minister following the budget. Nine news.

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NSW hospitals would be forced to close about 300 beds from July 1 because of federal budget cuts which Premier Mike Baird warns will slash $2 billion from the state budget each year.

Mr Baird said that while the state government had managed to make efficiency savings to date without affecting front-line services, those services were directly in the firing line.

He said NSW stood to lose more than $1.2 billion from the health budget through scaled-back national partnership arrangements to fund hospital services. About 300 hospital beds would need to close in July unless the federal funding cuts could be absorbed elsewhere in the state budget.

Not happy: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, Mike Baird and Victoria's Denis Napthine at Sunday's talks.

Not happy: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, Mike Baird and Victoria's Denis Napthine at Sunday's talks. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

Mr Baird was among a group of state leaders who met in Sydney on Sunday.

They rejected as untrue assurances by Prime Minister Tony Abbott that the budget cuts would not have a short-term impact on front-line services.

Mr Baird said that, from July 1, federal funding for pensioners and seniors in NSW would be cut by $100 million a year. Nationally, $300 million would be cut.

Close to $2 billion over the forward estimates would be lost in the state budget.

''There is also an impact in the short term and our budgets are going to have to deal with that,'' he said. ''And the impact is at the front line.

''We had expenditure that was up over 7 per cent, we have contracted that down to just under 3 per cent.

''We have tried to be as efficient as we possibly can. You are getting down to the position when you take away that money, it is taking away from the front line.'' Mr Baird said the funding loss to NSW over the first 10 years from 2017-18 was projected to average about $2.6 billion a year. Over the long term, it was projected to average roughly a nominal amount of $14.3 billion per annum.

The meeting of all state and territory leaders, except WA Premier Colin Barnett, rejected the budget cuts which they said would result in the loss of 1200 hospital beds around the country.

They called for an urgent COAG meeting to address their concerns before July 1 and urged voters to rally against the cuts by contacting their local Liberal and National Party federal MPs.

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