South Australian treasurer lashes out against federal cuts

Weatherill

Tom Koutsantonis, treasurer of South Australia, will announce two versions of his 2014-2015 budget tomorrow: the actual figures, and what they would have been, he says, were the region not facing extensive cuts.

The controversial move, announced today, will see Koutsantonis endeavour to shift blame for measures laid out in the budget to the Abbott government. Over the next four years, A$898m is to be slashed from the state’s federal budget, according to Premier Jay Weatherill, with hospitals and schools subject to cuts of A$5.5 billion over the coming decade.

However, whilst the pair have warned that vital hospital services may be in the firing line, the proposed budget defies the Abbot government by confirming the allocation of an extra A$72.3m to the region’s schools. It also pledges to protect pensioners, make the justice system more accessible and build another school in the state.

Commenting on the budget, Weatherill said: “There is no doubt that we will be forced to make some unpopular decisions due to these cuts, as we seek to ensure the most vulnerable in our community do not suffer any further hardship.”

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