WA Premier Colin Barnett will wait until the next COAG meeting to discuss federal funding cuts with his counterparts from other states.
The West Australian premier remains in no rush to discuss the federal government’s public school and hospital funding cuts.
Colin Barnett is not attending a crisis meeting in Sydney on Sunday, with chair and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman labelling the plan to save the commonwealth $80 billion by 2024/25 “unacceptable”.
The states are expected to fund the shortfall, and Mr Newman has flagged a push for all the states to receive a portion of income tax that comes from their residents.
Mr Barnett is neither attending in person nor dialling in, and he’s not sending another MP in his stead.
“The premier thinks the best place for the states to discuss the federal budget with the commonwealth government is at Council of Australian Government’s meeting,” a spokesman said.
“He will attend the next COAG meeting.”
Mr Barnett expects that will be held in the second half of the year.
State opposition leader Mark McGowan said it was disappointing the premier was not attending the crisis meeting.
“He should be over there banging the table on behalf of WA and demanding that our funding for education and health remain in place,” Mr McGowan told AAP.
“Were it a federal Labor government, he would be leading the charge. Now that Tony Abbott’s the prime minister, he’s gone to water.”
Opposition treasury spokesman Ben Wyatt said it was an example of “typical Barnett petulance”.
“It’s always better to be part of these discussions,” Mr Wyatt said.
The premier said earlier this week that the cuts wouldn’t happen for a few years so he wasn’t panicking.
Mr Wyatt said Mr Barnett was being flippant about the state’s future finances.