3

The WA premier Colin Barnett will appeal to Tony Abbott to help save his state from a proposed 549-million dollar funding cut. (ABC News)

Why does the sentence select not 'the' but 'a'? : I guess the WA's appeal must have connected a specific proposition.

2

proposed 549-million dollar funding cut is a general description of the item, but a specific means (legislative bill, directive or such) is not specified. Generally speaking, there could be several proposals. Therefore using a is appropriate.

If it was specified, you could say something like

The WA premier Colin Barnett will appeal to Tony Abbott to help save his state from the proposed 549-million dollar funding cut, Spending Bill A001.

5

It hadn't been introduced before. If it said the proposed 549-million dollar funding cut, it would be referring to a proposed 549-million dollar funding cut that had previously been introduced to the reader.

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