32 interesting and surprising measures announced in the 2018 federal budget

Stefan Postles/Getty ImagesTreasurer Scott Morrison

The 2018 federal budget has landed.

Scott Morrison is happy.

Along with tax cuts and infrastructure spending, announced prior to Tuesday night’s budget statement, there was also a focus on ageing Australia, with the government announcing comprehensive plans to help Australians work well into their old age.

But there were a few measures we found interesting or unexpected.

Here’s what they are.

An Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity Operations facility

The government will provide $2.5 million over three years from 2019-20 for the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity to establish and maintain an
operations facility in Sydney.

A response to the Tasmania fruit fly outbreak

The government will provide $20 million in 2017-18 to the Tasmanian Government to assist with the management of the fruit fly outbreak in northern Tasmania.

Transferring the custody of Royal Commission Records

The government will provide $500,000 in 2018-19 to transfer custody of the records of both the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory to the Attorney-General’s Department.

A national apology to the victims of institutional child sexual abuse

The government will provide $1.6 million over two years from 2017-18 to develop and deliver a national apology to the victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

Promoting online safety for all Australians

The government will provide $14.2 million over four years from 2018-19 (including $500,000 in capital funding in 2018-19) to support the functions of the Office of the eSafety Commissioner (the eSafety Office).

This funding includes $11.7 million for new functions undertaken by the eSafety Office following the expansion of its role from promoting online safety for children. These new functions include administering a new civil penalty regime to combat the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, and providing guidance and support to Australians who experience online abuse.

$2.5 million is for the continuation of the eSafety Office’s Certified Providers program and eSafety Women program.

Research into the potential health impacts associated with exposure to chemicals, historically used in firefighting foams


The government will provide $34.1 million over five years from 2017-18 for research and associated activities related to per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), which were used in firefighting foams across the country from 1970.

This funding includes:

• establishment of a PFAS Remediation Research Program; and
• additional resourcing for the Department of the Environment and Energy to manage its responsibilities.

The PFAS Remediation Research Program will facilitate the development of innovative technologies to investigate and remediate PFAS contaminated substances.

Use of the foams was phased out from 10 years ago but caused widespread contamination in the soil, groundwater and surface water around some of the military bases.

No more time limits for the adult migrant English program

The government will remove time limits for Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) clients aged under 18 years to seek an extension to their tuition entitlements.

From 1 July 2018, migrants of all ages will be able to extend their tuition entitlements.

The AMEP provides up to 510 hours of free English language tuition to newly arrived migrants.

Australian Antarctic Science

The government will provide $35.7 million over four years to support Australia’s Antarctic science program.

An Australian Heritage Grants Program

The government will provide $23.1 million over four years and $5.7 million annually from 2022-23, to establish a flagship Australian Heritage Grants Program (AHGP) via grant funding to protect and promote places with Commonwealth, National or World Heritage values.

Australia’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai

Tim de Waele/Getty ImagesDubai

The government will fund Australia’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, showcasing Australia’s culture, business and industry, including Australia’s Defence industry, as well as trade and investment opportunities.

The cost will not be revealed for commercial-in-confidence reasons.

Undersea cables for Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands

The government will improve internet access and connectivity in PNG and Solomon Islands by contributing funds for the construction of undersea high speed telecommunications cables.

Epilepsy Action Response Service

The government will provide $1.3 million over three years to Epilepsy Action Australia to establish a national Epilepsy Action Response Service with a focus on rural and remote areas.

Improving access to medicines via e-prescribing software

The government will provide $28.2 million over five years to upgrade the e-prescribing software system used by clinicians to prescribe medicines.

Encouraging greater use of generic and biosimilar medicines

Joe Raedle/ Getty Images

$5 million over three years is allocated towards a generic medicines awareness campaign as part of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Access, with estimates that the increased use of generic and bio-similar medicines will lead to a reduction in costs of $335.8 million over five years.

Increasing awareness of organ donation

There’s $400,000 in 2018-19 to increase awareness of the Australian Organ Donor Register (AODR) through a range of partnerships.

Improving aftercare treatment for patients following a suicide attempt

$37.6 million over four years goes to improving follow-up care for people discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt, including $10.5 million for Beyondblue and $27.1 million for Primary Health Networks, contingent on co-contributions from States and Territories.

Funding for mental health in far north Queensland

$500,000 goes to The Junction Clubhouse in Cairns to support people with long-term mental health issues. The funding is contingent on a co-contribution from the Queensland Government.

Funding for Lifeline Australia’s telephone crisis services

$33.8 million over four years goes to Lifeline Australia to enhance its telephone crisis services.

Support for alcohol and drug abuse treatment

$40 million over three years to support professional development in primary care for the treatment and support for alcohol and drug abuse and residential rehabilitation services.

The Special Olympics Australia National Games 2018

$200,000 is allocated towards hosting of the Special Olympics Australia National Games in Adelaide, with 1,000 athletes with an intellectual disability competing.

An anti-slavery unit

$3.6 million over four years will go to establishing an anti-slavery unit, within the Department of Home Affairs, to manage the
implementation of a modern slavery reporting requirement.

Visas for GPs

There will be improved targeting of visas for GPs to areas of doctor shortages, with a planning target of around 2,100 overseas trained doctors annually from January 2019.

Reducing Centrelink call wait times

The government will allocate $50 million in 2018-19 to reduce Centrelink call wait times.

The management of drones

$2.9 million goes to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to manage safety standards and associated compliance for recreational and commercial drone technologies.

Radioactive waste management and decommissioning projects

$7.7 million will fund immediate and critical radioactive waste management and nuclear decommissioning activities.

An Australian Parliament House cyber security operations centre

The government will provide $9 million over four years for the Department of Parliamentary Services to establish a cyber security operations centre to enhance protection of the parliamentary computing network.

Researching blockchain’s potential applications

There’s $700,000 in 2018-19 for the Digital Transformation Agency to investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for government services.

Support for the Prime Minister and Cabinet

There’s $23.3 million over two years for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) to support PM&C in providing policy support to the Government’s domestic and international policy agendas, including national security, trade and infrastructure.

50 Years of ABSTUDY

The government will provide $38.1 million over five years for reforms to ABSTUDY for secondary school students.

This measure will improve the education opportunities of Indigenous secondary school students, and aligns with the 50th anniversary of the introduction of ABSTUDY.

Funding for the ABS

There’s $4.2 million over two years, including $800,000 in capital funding, to the Australian Bureau of Statistics to enhance its capacity to produce economic statistics that better reflect economic priorities and changes in the economy.

Enhancing female financial capability

$10 million goes to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to provide a grant that will support initiatives to enhance female financial capability.

The digitisation of the Australian War Memorial

The government will provide an additional $13.1 million over four years to enhance the Australian War Memorial’s (AWM) digitisation program and increase the rate of the preservation of the AWM National Collection, focusing on objects which are at significant risk of deterioration in the short term.

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