As Tuesday’s federal budget announcement looms, each state and territory issues their ‘wish list’ and put their cases forward on how they need to spend their slice of the cake.
5 May 2017 - 11:38 AM  UPDATED 5 May 2017 - 11:52 AM

Australian states and territories have placed education, health and infrastructure on the top of their wish list for the upcoming federal budget. 

The Northern Territory and Queensland have argued that they need further funding in order to invest in better services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, especially in health, housing and education. Meanwhile, Victoria says it needs to focus on their health system, targeting front-line services, Indigenous mental health, ambulances and family violence.


NT: Budget must close the gap, develop north

The Northern Territory wants Canberra to cough up more cash to develop the north, close the gap and invest in defence infrastructure.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner has a long federal budget wish list, and right at the top is money for job-creating projects and to improve outcomes in Indigenous education, health and housing.

"We expect the federal government to acknowledge the serious level of disadvantage we have in the Northern Territory, to understand the costs associated with delivering services to remote locations (and) the limitations we have to growing own source revenue," Mr Gunner said.

He says the NT will lose about $385 million next financial year from a decline in its share of GST receipts, and would welcome infrastructure funding that attracts private sector investment in northern Australia and boosts population growth.

"(That includes) roads that enable large-scale agribusiness and resources projects to take place," Mr Gunner said.

He wants more needs-based money for Territory schools, stating the commonwealth's new funding arrangements do not go far enough to provide a fair deal for vulnerable NT children.

The Territory is already investing $1.1 billion over 10 years into remote housing, and wants the commonwealth to match those efforts.

"We need the federal government to come to the party," Mr Gunner said.

The Territory has also called for help in implementing the juvenile justice royal commission's recommendations, due in August.

Federal Labor MP Luke Gosling wants defence contracts for local businesses in the Top End, and co-investment in infrastructure such as a ship-lift facility for Darwin Port.

"We want to see flow-on benefits for local businesses and workers," he said.

NT remote housing in crisis
A fourth Indigenous community is threatening legal action against the Northern Territory government over the poor state of remote housing.

Queensland: Funding increases for government schools

Queensland government schools will receive an additional $542m in funding over four years under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Gonski 2.0 reforms.

The federal government will start to overhaul the Australian education funding model in next week's budget in a bid to fix what national Education Minister Simon Birmingham has labelled "a hodge-podge" of arrangements for different states.

Senator Birmingham said Queensland government schools had received about $1.56b in 2017, but it would grow significantly in subsequent years.

"Over four years the average per student growth for Queensland government schools is 5.2 per cent,” he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

Senator Birmingham said some states would then receive additional "loadings" if they had more students from low socio-economic and Indigenous backgrounds, students with a disability or who lived in a remote location.

"If we look at federal funding for Queensland, it will at the end of our transition period mean around $4635 per student, which is around $400 per student more than Victoria," he said.

Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones broadly welcomed the announcement on Tuesday, but said most of the money was allocated towards the end of the transition period.

Future management of Aurukun school in doubt as Education Queensland exerts greater control
Education Queensland says it's struggling to negotiate a new funding contract for Aurukun primary school that will ensure a "return on investment".
Queensland Government has "taken over" Aurukun school: Noel Pearson
The Cape York leader says the Education Department has "completely dismantled" the school's teaching method, undoing six years of progress.

Victoria: More funding for hospitals

A massive $2.9 billion will be invested in Victoria's health system, targeting front-line services, Indigenous mental health, ambulances and family violence.

There will be $428 million of upgrades at some of the state's busiest hospitals, including Northern Hospital, $50 million to plan for a new Footscray Hospital, and $319.9 million to cut elective surgery waiting lists.

A "massive boost" of $1.67 billion from the funding will be just for hospitals, including $174.3 million to provide extra operations - the equivalent of nearly 12,000 hip replacements or more than 51,000 eye operations.

Monash Medical Centre emergency department will get $63.2 million, the Royal Melbourne $40 million and Austin Health $29.8 million.

In funding that also comes under the family violence spend, about $38 million will be used to train health workers to identify signs of domestic violence and provide support.

A $12.8 million cancer package to screen breast, bowel and oral cancers will be rolled out over the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, ambulance services will get $26.5 million for an additional 127 full- time paramedics, new vehicles and new ambulance stations across Victoria.

There will also be a mental health overhaul for more staff and Aboriginal health workers and the government announced a Maternal Child Health Service $81.1 million expansion before the budget.

Victorian government commits $28.5M for Treaty discussions, amid confusion and criticism
People have been asking for a Treaty since Captain Cook, but at Friday's treaty forum in Victoria it wasn't clear if the government and the community were on the same page. Many wanted more input and information about the process.

NSW: Health and education

NSW has urged Canberra to stick to its promises and provide funding for health and education.

"We will be looking very closely at the details of the recently announced changes to education funding," the state's treasurer Dominic Perrottet says.

It's feared dozens of NSW schools will be worse off under the Turnbull government's new schools funding arrangement - dubbed Gonski 2.0.

Mr Perrottet says his federal counterparts must ensure existing funding commitments, including the final two years of Gonski funding, are met in next week's budget.

NSW should also be rewarded for undertaking reform, he said.

"Our infrastructure program is leading the nation and driving the national economy, so we will be looking for that to be rewarded with further commonwealth investment in essential productivity-enhancing infrastructure," he told AAP.

Indigenous Australians continue to be over represented in NSW prisons
Indigenous Australians continue to be significantly over represented in NSW prisons the latest figures reveal.
New NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs appointed
The Nationals party's Sarah Mitchell will oversee Aboriginal Affairs and Early Childhood Education, taking over the portfolio from outgoing minister Leslie Williams
NSW leads the way to protecting Aboriginal languages
New South Wales will become the first Australian state to introduce legislation to protect Aboriginal languages.

TAS: Happy with whatever they get

Happy with the Turnbull government's latest schools funding model and satisfied with a decade-long commonwealth sponsorship of a major hospital, Tasmania's Liberal government is unlikely to be optimistic about additional big-ticket items in the federal budget.

The only state or territory to welcome Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Gonski 2.0 scheme, championing an extra $200 million over 10 years compared to what was on offer for the state 12 months ago, Tasmania was quick to praise the schools deal this week. 

And April's promise of a $730 million cash injection to pay for the northern Mersey Community Hospital for the next decade has eased what's been a chronic funding headache for the island state's administration for several years.

But there are still a few key infrastructure items that Tasmania will be hoping make the cut for budget 2017-18.

In 2016 Infrastructure Australia named a specialist science, technology, engineering and maths university research and training facility in Hobart as one of the nation's most significant future projects.

The University of Tasmania is keen on the idea but would be seeking federal dollars to co-sponsor the project.

Canberra has previously agreed to fund a new $535 million four-lane Bridgewater Bridge over Hobart's Derwent River with construction due to start in 2019-20 and it should get a mention in the financial plan.

There's an outside chance Tuesday's budget could include funds for a new Launceston water treatment plan, for which federal Labor pledged $75 million in the lead up to the last election.

There should be previously announced funding for ongoing irrigation schemes and a rail freight corridor, while a federal pledge for a second Bass Strait electricity cable seems unlikely.

Tasmania's Labor opposition leader Rebecca White said the state is still reeling from $2.1 billion in cuts from the coalition's 2014 budget.

"The federal government has done nothing to help fix Tasmania's water and sewerage challenges," Ms White told AAP.

The Labor leader said Tasmania is in desperate need of further education funding, adding that the state government was wrong to accept the latest schools deal.

Furthermore, public hospitals in Hobart and Launceston continue to operate under enormous pressures which could be eased by federal funding, Ms White added.

Palawa lawyer questions benefit of Tasmanian constitutional recognition
Australia's island state, Tasmania, is one step closer to recognising Palawa first nations in their constitutional preamble.
Tasmania's Constitution set to be changed to include recognition
Tasmania's Constitution is set to be changed to include recognition of Aboriginal Tasmanians, after the recommendation of a state parliamentary committee.

WA: Just show us the money

The top two items on the new WA Labor government's federal budget wishlist are cold, hard cash to compensate for getting the lowest share of GST and funding for its new $2.53 billion Metronet rail network.

The state will get the GST money, WA Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann said last weekend, although the $226 million towards infrastructure is less than the near $500 million it got in each of the last two years.

The contentious GST distribution issue will be the subject of a new Productivity Commission inquiry.

WA's share will languish at 34 cents for every dollar raised this year compared to about or above the 100 cent mark for the rest of the country, with Victoria and NSW around 90 cents.

With AAP

Newly elected WA state government asked to clarify their position on remote communities
#SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA is calling on the new State Government of Western Australia to clarify their remote Aboriginal Community ‘reform’ position.
WA Nationals and Libs split over Royalties for Regions program investment plan
Tensions between the WA government's alliance partners have hit an all-time low on the eve of the election, with the Nationals vowing not to partner with the Liberals if they go ahead with plans to milk its prized Royalties for Regions program.