Premiers meet to combat federal funding cuts

STATE and territory leaders met Sunday to draw up their battle plan in response to health and education cuts announced in the federal budget.

They have demanded an urgent meeting with the Abbott Government before the end of June.

State and territory leaders remained united saying they will not back down over the announced cuts to health and education funding.

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey announced, when handing down his first budget last week, there would be an $80 billion reduction to health and education funding over the next decade which angered state leaders.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said after the meeting the matter needed to be sorted out.

"I want to be very clear, we are firm in our resolve that these cuts are firmly and unequivocally rejected," he said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, talking on ABC Insiders on Sunday, said he had been absolutely upfront with the states over $80 billion worth of health and education funding cuts.

He said the money was never in any budget or forward estimates and was just an unsustainable promise made by the former Labor government that knew it was never going to have to deliver

"We constantly talked about Labor spending like a drunken sailor," he said.

"We said we would honour the then government's commitments over the then forward estimates, but said that we were not bound by their pie-in-the-sky promises for the out years.

"It was always obvious that we were going to have to rein back unsustainable spending.

"We constantly talked about Labor indulging in a cash splash with borrowed money and now we have done what is necessary."

He said he was looking forward to having lots of discussions with the states over coming months and years.

"I am absolutely confident that at the end of those discussions we will continue to have good schools and good hospitals and we will have a better federation as well," he said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the budget was an attack on health, education, Medicare, pensioners and higher education.

He said Labor would not support the bulk of the government's budget proposals.

Thousands of people turned out at rallies across six capitals in protest of the government's budget cuts.

Topics:  budget cuts federal budget tony abbott

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