There were a number of aspects to the federal budget that we expected.
We knew the pension age would increase 70, a wealth tax on those earning more than $180,000 and a fuel excise. But for all the leaks, Joe Hockey kept a few up spending secrets up his sleeve.
With so many significant cuts to welfare and public service jobs, some of the programs that survived the razor gang seem a little left-field.
Here are some of the programs that made it into the 2014 federal budget.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 — search
There’s $89.9 million over two years for the search. Defence chips in $27.9 million, with Infrastructure helping out with $2 million for the Angus Houston’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau picks up most of the tab, with $60 million, but the final cost of the search, of course, remains an open chequebook.
Australian Ballet School student residence
CSIRO research is out, but it’s good news for ballerinas, with $1 million towards a boarding home for students of the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne.
Matthew Flinders’ Chart
Apparently Captain Matthew Flinders’ original 1804 chart of Australia is coming down under on a long-term loan from the UK, at a cost of $200,000. Gee express post is getting expensive. How much would it cost to have Trim, his cat, stuffed.
National School Chaplaincy Programme
Education might be facing major cuts, but God will provide some solace, thankfully, with an additional $245.3 million over five years for the National School Chaplaincy Programme.
Schools apply for $20,000 annual grants. Perhaps the priesthood is an option for 16,000 soon-to-be unemployed public servants.
The Lodge refurbishment
While the PM is following in the footsteps of his mentor John Howard in making Sydney’s Kirribilli House his home for now, the Lodge is getting a makeover, although the cost isn’t listed due to commercial-in-confidence considerations. Maybe they should have got a team from Channel 9’s The Block to do the job.
Changes to agricultural production levies
Did you know there was a levy and export charge on onions? It’s been doubled! Outrage! Up from $2 to $4 per tonne from July.
The mushroom spawn levy faces a similar fate, up from $2.16 to $4.32kg; and the mango levy’s been given a nudge too, up from 1.75 cents to 1.893kg.
Are they more broken promises and increased taxes?
Well, the money goes to industry R&D, marketing, and biosecurity, and generally, industry sets the rate, with the Government matching the funding, so nice one Joe.
National Tobacco Campaign
The National Preventive Health Agency’s mainstream National Tobacco Campaign was stubbed out, saving $2.9 million. The Depart of Health is now charged with knocking up a “new lower cost online and social media campaign to support smoking cessation activities”.
Does that fit in a tweet?
ADF Support to the G20 Summit
With 4000 international bigwigs bound for Brisbane in November for the G20 pow-wow, securities going to be tight to ensure no-one cops a shoe in the head or The Chaser turns up unannounced. There’s $8 million for Defence to do their bit, probably flying Blackhawks over the city while the AFP and local plod keep the streets safe and protestors in buffer zones.
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