(Image: Private Media)

Not everything in the budget is predictable — or even logical — to most of us.

With that in mind, we’ve brought together some of the stranger, less expected, spending measures that made it into this year’s federal budget.

Dried fruit, nuts and prawns

A recession ultimately leads to fewer fancy cocktail parties, and prawn farmers have said they’re struggling. In response, there will be no white spot disease repayment levy and export charge component on farmed prawns for the next year.

Macadamias will get a little cheaper next year too, with the $0.02 a kilogram levy and export charge cut.

But if you’re buying sultanas and prunes in extreme bulk, you’re out of luck: to fund biosecurity management, a $1 a tonne levy will be placed on dried vine fruits.

There will also be an extra $1.9 million over four years to continue an importation scheme for kava to be brought into Australia for personal consumption and commercial distribution.

Waste export

Under a $6.6 million licensing and declaration scheme, waste exporters will have to prove they’ve processed their rubbish enough that harm to the environment will be limited.

Academy Enterprising Girls and Women Building Australia

Close to $50 million will be given over four years for grants for women and girls in the Women’s Leadership and Development Program, including funding for the academy — which does what exactly, we’re still unsure.

Australian Rail Track Corporation

Extra cash will be handed out to the rail industry to deliver the inland rail project. How much? We have no idea — the budget paper keeps it secret due to “commercial sensibilities” (read: outrage at how much this is actually going to cost). 

An equity injection for Australian Naval Infrastructure also remains undisclosed.

Bureau of Meteorology

Our weather boffins must be kept safe and the budget allows for that: extra cash will be going to the bureau for improved security and resilience — though again the exact figures are secret.

Agriculture

To boost jobs, $99 million will be given to improve the ease of doing business by busting congestion for agricultural supporters. What does this mean? Your guess is as good as ours.

Cattle compensation

The government’s insurance fund will cover compensations and legal costs against the Commonwealth for farms which were affected by the live cattle export ban to Indonesia in 2011. 

The legal sensitivities of the matter mean we don’t know how much has been allocated.

Ghost nets

Over four years, $14.8 million will be provided to fish ghost nets — discharged fishing nets — from out of Australia’s northern waters.

Agricultural field days

Anyone who cancelled an agricultural field day due to the pandemic is in luck: there’s $2.7 million for organisers who had to cancel their events because of COVID-19.

Blockchain

It’s bingo for cryptocurrencies, with $6.9 million over two years allocated to pilot programs to show off how handy blockchain is and encourage broader take-up of blockchain by Australian businesses.

Yellow crazy ant control

The budget provides $6 million across two years to the environmental sector to rein in hordes of yellow crazy ants in and around the wet tropics of Queensland’s world heritage area.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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