The 11 most unusual items from Budget 2018

The Australian Government has provided funding for safety standards and compliance of drones in the 2018 Budget.

You won’t find them in Treasurer Scott Morrison's budget night speech, but there are plenty of smaller, and possibly unusual, items of interest in the Budget 2018 papers.

The smaller items often reflect changing times, such as the change in GST treatment for foreign providers of online Australian hotel bookings, who were granted an exemption in 2005 when hardly anyone booked a hotel online.

Here are some that missed out on this year’s budget night coverage.

Managing drones

The Government will provide A$2.9 million in 2018-19 to support the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to manage safety standards and associated compliance for recreational and commercial drone technologies in Australia.

Larger refunds and lower rates of excise on alcohol

Australia’s growing craft beer movement will get a boost from a lower excise rate for smaller kegs. (AAP Image/Daniel Munoz)

The alcohol excise refund scheme will be increased from A$30,000 per financial year to A$100,000 from 1 July 2019. The refund will increase for domestic brewers, distillers and producers of draught beer and other fermented beverages such as cider. 

Australia’s growing craft beer movement will get a boost from a lower excise rate for smaller kegs. 

Currently, a lower rate of excise is available for draught beer kegs that are larger than 48 litres. The threshold for this concessional rate will be lowered to kegs which are 8 litres and above. 

Customs duty on imported placebos and clinical trial kits to be removed

Customs tariffs on imported placebos and clinical trial kits will be removed from 1 July 2018. 

This measure will simplify the import process for clinical trial kits and placebos, removing the need to differentiate between medicines and placebos, as both will now be subject to a free rate of duty. 

Online hotel bookings

The government will end the GST exemption for foreign businesses that sell Australian hotel accommodation online. They will have to calculate their GST turnover in the same way as local sellers.

Listen to the podcast: The winners, the losers and the missed opportunities of the third Turnbull/Morrison Budget.

The exemption was introduced in 2005, when most offshore sales were made through offshore tour operators and the change, to be introduced from sales made after 1 July 2019, will level the playing field, the government says.

Illegal tobacco

There are several measures to address the growing and smuggling of illegal tobacco, including how tax is collected at the border. A new Illicit Tobacco Task Force will be created.

World Twenty20 cricket

The government will give a five-year income tax exemption to a subsidiary of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the ICC World Twenty20 to be held in Australia in 2020. 

The exemption will apply from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2023, and forms part of commitment to support the ICC to stage the World Twenty20 in Australia. 

Fighting modern slavery

The government will provide A$3.6 million over four years from 2018/19 to establish an Anti-Slavery Unit.

This will support Australian businesses to mitigate the risk that modern slavery is occurring in the supply chains and operations of businesses operating in Australia. It will strengthen the country’s ability to combat modern slavery, including criminal justice outcomes and enhancing victim support.

250th Anniversary of James Cook’s Voyage – commemoration

A grant of A$48.7 million over four years from 2017/18 will fund commemoration of the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s first voyage to Australia and the Pacific. 

The package will support events and exhibitions including a digital platform and educational material and fund cultural engagement and consultation with Indigenous communities.

Film incentive – Location Incentive Funding Program

The Federal government has announced a four-year $140 million location incentive for big budget films. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Funding of A$140 million over four years from 2019/20 will go to an incentive program to attract international investment to sustain Australian jobs in film production and related industries. 

This is additional to the existing “location offset” component of the Australian Screen Production Incentive tax rebate.

Enhancing cruise ship access to Sydney

The government will fund A$300,000 to develop options for extra cruise ship berths in Sydney. 

Large electorates – reimbursement of lease costs

Federal lower house parliamentarians whose electorates cover more than 25,000 square kilometres will be able to claim reimbursement of leasing and operating expenses of up to A$20,000 a year, likely to cost in the order of A$2.2 million over five years.

Read next: Federal Budget 2018: This year’s winners and losers


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October 2018
October 2018

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