Beyond the budget headlines – 16 items you might have missed

The Australian Government will provide $4.3 million in 2021-22 to support agricultural showmen and women.

Now that the big headline programs have been announced and dissected, there’s an opportunity to look at some of the lesser known items in this year’s Federal Budget.

These weren’t in the Treasurer’s speech or in the immediate coverage but a trawl through the more detailed budget papers shows how targeted, and perhaps obscure, some of the budget measures may appear.

Here are some that missed the first wave of budget coverage:

Bio-security measures

$58.6 million has been allocated over four years from 2021-22 (and $13.6 million ongoing) to continue to address the biosecurity risk posed by African Swine Fever, which builds on the 2019-20 African Swine Fever Response Package. 

Then there is $14.5 million over two years from 2020-21 to protect the Australian grain and horticultural industry from the threat of Khapra Beetle. 

There is also $29.1 million over four years from 2021-22 to reduce the economic and environmental burden of established feral animals, pests and weeds.

Ocean accounting

The budget also allocates $30.6 million over four years to support the global exportation of Australia’s expertise in ocean accounting – or collecting data and information on the oceans – and undertake “on-the-ground restoration activities in regional Australia and in regional partner countries to restore and account for blue carbon ecosystems.”

MH17 support

The Government will provide $10.9 million over five years from 2020-21 to support ongoing efforts to achieve “justice, truth and accountability” in relation to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the Ukraine in 2014.  

Funding for organic waste

In the agricultural allocation, the budget includes $59.8 million over four years from 2021-22 to deliver grants in partnership with states and territories through a Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund, designed to “enhance existing organic waste and processing infrastructure and make better use of this resource.”

Still on the issue of organic waste, there is another $7.2 million over four years from 2021-22 to deliver a community and education program on the benefits of processed organic waste.

Tuna Champions

With stocks challenged, the budget includes $0.9 million over three years from 2021-22 to extend and broaden the Tuna Champions program to promote the conservation of tuna species by recreational fishers. 

The program monitors and seeks to understand the Southern Bluefin Tuna to better conserve the species.

Antarctic aerodrome

The Government will provide additional funding to support and progress key planning activities to take the Davis Aerodrome project (intended to provide year-round aviation access to Antarctica) through to a final investment decision. 

The financial implications of this measure are not for publication due to commercial-in-confidence sensitivities. 

Showmen’s guild

The Australian Government will provide $4.3 million in 2021-22 to support agricultural showmen and women for the operational costs associated with their participation at agricultural shows in 2021 and 2022, and to provide a moratorium on Showmen’s Guild fees for 2021. 

Artificial intelligence

The digital economy was a key budget focus, and there were specific investments in artificial intelligence or AI.

There was $33.7 million over four years from 2021-22 to provide grants to businesses to work with the government to develop AI-based solutions to solve national challenges.

In addition, the budget included $24.7 million over six years from 2021-22 to establish the Next Generation AI Graduates Program to attract and train AI specialists through national scholarships.

There is also $12.0 million over five years from 2021-22 to deliver co-funded grants to support community and business-driven projects that build AI capabilities in regional areas.

Drone rules

Still in the area of new technology, the budget earmarked $1.6 million over two years from 2021-22 to establish the New Drone Rule Management System to support the automated management of Commonwealth and state drone regulations.

There was also $1.5 million in 2021-22 to support the development of the National Drone Detection Network to manage drone security risks and support future automated regulatory enforcement. 

Also in the area of autonomous aircraft, there is $3 million allocated for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to support registration of commercial Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and enable transition to full cost recovery from 2022-23 for the regulation and administration of commercial and recreational RPAS. 

Identify settings

As part of the national cybersecurity program, $2.8 million is allocated in 2021-22 to strengthen Australia's national system of “identity settings” to protect against identify theft and passport fraud.

Cultural understanding

This one slipped under the radar. The budget papers include $8.1 million over four years for Together for Humanity to deliver a program to students, teachers and parents so they are “equipped for diversity”, and to foster greater inter-cultural understanding and a sense of belonging.

Small business

Entrepreneurship is also encouraged in the budget, which includes $15.5 million over two years from 2020-21 to provide more people the opportunity to explore and start their own small business.

This will be done through providing an additional 1,000 places under the New Business Assistance with New Enterprise Incentive Scheme program and an additional 350 places under the Exploring Being My Own Boss Workshop program.

COVID response

The government will provide $119.9 million over four years from 2021-22 to increase Australia’s consular capability and provide additional support to vulnerable Australian citizens overseas whose return to Australia has been impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions. 

There is also $7.7 million over two years from 2021-22 to continue the Airline Liaison Officer Program to disrupt illegitimate international travel to Australia and support approved COVID-safe travel. 

Radioactive waste management

The government will provide $2.4 million over three years from 2021-22 to extend the Community Benefit Program to support the Kimba community in South Australia while the site selection process for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility continues. 

Still in the area of radioactivity, the government will provide funding over 11 years from 2021-22 to conduct full rehabilitation works at the former Rum Jungle mine site near Batchelor, Northern Territory. 

The financial implications for this measure are not for publication due to commercial sensitivities. 

Holocaust education

Holocaust education in Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory receives funding in the budget. 

There is $2.0 million towards the Tasmanian Holocaust Education and Interpretation Centre in Hobart, and also $0.8 million towards the Canberra Holocaust Museum and Education Centre in the Australian Capital Territory.

Cross-border crime fighting

The government will provide $9.6 million over four years from 2021-22 to support the bilateral exchange of information between Australia and the United States relating to the investigation of serious crimes. 

Arrangements for accessing information would be provided under the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (International Production Orders) Bill 2020, currently before Parliament, and the United States’ Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act.


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September 2021
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