Budget 2019: 13 under-the-radar items that didn’t make headlines

Funding has been brought forward on the Pest and Disease Preparedness and Response Program to begin the fire ant project.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg may not have thumped the desk about them on budget night, but there are a host of small and interesting items in the 2019 Budget papers.

Once again they reflect changing times, from lower tobacco consumption to integrity in sport and the creation of a national memorial for victims of institutional sexual abuse.  
Here are some of the measures from the budget papers’ fine print.

Cyber “uplift” for government

An unspecified amount of funding will go to enhance cyber security arrangements for whole of government systems in relation to the 2019 election, and to mitigate cyber threats with enhanced monitoring.

This includes the creation of cyber “Sprint Teams” within the Australia Cyber Security Centre, and a Cyber Security Response Fund.

The government has cited “national security reasons” for not publishing the amount to be allocated.

Tobacco crackdown boosts revenue

The launch of last year’s Black Economy Package combatting illicit tobacco is having a positive impact on revenues.

Excise and customs duty receipts are forecast to grow by 3.7 per cent in 2018-9 and 14.9 per cent in 2019-20.

Changing consumer preferences

Consumer moves away from highly taxed items such as fuel, alcohol and tobacco could result in tax receipts as a proportion of GDP declining over an extended time period, according to the budget papers.

GST revenue growth could also weaken as consumption favours non-GST items.

Fire ants under fire

The government has allocated A$18.3 million over three years from 2018/19 to support an immediate program to support the eradication of fire ants in newly defined areas.

Funding has been brought forward from the National Partnership on Pest and Disease Preparedness and Response Program to begin the fire ant project.

More expensive visas

The visa application charge is set to rise from July 1, 2019.

The visa application charge will rise by 5.4% per cent from July 1, 2019, for all visa subclasses with the exception of the Visitor (subclass 600).

This measure is estimated to increase revenue by A$275 million in the period up to 2021/22.

Tax breaks for Men’s and Women’s Sheds

Gifts to Men’s Sheds and Women’s Sheds of A$2 or more will be tax deductible from July 1, 2020.

The deduction applies both to gifts of money and property, and the measure is designed to encourage philanthropy and support for the not-for-profit sector.

The government estimates this will reduce revenue by A$8 million over the forward estimates period.

Luxury car tax relief for tourism and farmers

Tax relief for farmers and tourism operators, with the maximum refund of A$10,000 lifted from A$3000.

Farmers and tourism operators will be able to apply for higher refunds on the luxury car tax, up to a maximum of A$10,000. The current maximum refund is A$3000.

The measure applies to vehicles purchased on after July 1 2019, and will reduce revenue by A$11 million.

Museum and memorial for sex abuse victims

The budget has allocated A$2.5 million in 2019/20 for consultation on options for a national museum or memorial for victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

The funds will also be used in preparatory work for a national orphanage museum.

Adelaide Space Centre

Adelaide’s status as the centre of Australia’s nascent space industry will be secured with A$6 million funding for a Mission Control Centre to support the emerging space start-p industry.

Dark Mofo light show

The Dark Mofo Winter festival at Hobart Waterfront.

Hobart’s Dark Mofo festival will receive A$1.5 million for a major light show to encourage tourism to Tasmania during the closure of the Tahune Airwalk as a result of recent bushfires.

Dark matter research

The University of Melbourne will receive A$5 million from 2018/19 to construct the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory.

The facility will be the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and will support astroparticle researchers to become global players in dark matter research.

Sports integrity

A new body called Sport Integrity Australia will be established.

A new body called Sport Integrity Australia will be established as part of A$33 million in funding to safeguard the integrity of Australian sport.

The new body will carry out anti-doping and integrity function, and a National Sports Tribunal will be created to hear and resolve rule violations.

Facilities for para athletes

Essendon Football Club’s “The Hangar” facility, which is also Paralympic Australia’s Victorian base, will receive A$4 million over two years to construct new facilities.

Defending democracy

Four-year funding of A$34.8 million has been allocated to counter activities that seek to undermine Australia’s sovereign democratic institutions.

This includes funding to support investigations under the National Security Legislation.

Read next: Federal Budget 2019: More winners than losers


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