Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

Dig beyond the big ticket items and glossy overview and you’ll find the budget is full of goofy spending measures. It also has a lot of spending measures we’re not allowed to know the value of — left undisclosed because of fairly shady reasons like “commercial sensibilities”.

Here are a few of the more interesting measures we’re not allowed to know the value of.

Cashless debit card

The government will continue funding controversial cashless debit cards which seek to restrict the spending choices of certain welfare recipients. But we don’t know how much the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Services Australia or the Department of Social Services is getting for it because “negotiations with potential commercial providers are yet to be finalised”.

Cash for spooks

Additional funding for national security agencies over the next four years is undisclosed because of… national security reasons.

Nuclear scoping

The cost of a scoping study of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation conducted by the Department of Finance is undisclosed because of “commercial sensitivities”.

Domestic violence support

The budget sets aside funding over four years for sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling over the Christmas period. But the amount is not for publication because “the market will be approached to provide high quality services” for the government.

Australians stuck overseas

The amount spent by repatriating and supporting Australians trapped overseas by border closures and other pandemic-related inconveniences is undisclosed because of “commercial sensitivities”.

Institutional child abuse claims

Funding to settle institutional child abuse claims made outside the national redress scheme in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory before self-government is hidden because of “legal sensitivities”.

Poisoned water lawsuit

Settled class actions over contaminated groundwater in three communities — Williamtown in New South Wales, Oakey in Queensland and Katherine in the Northern Territory — is also not for publication because of “legal sensitivities”.

Remote Indigenous communities

Funding to support the states in implementing COVID-related travel restrictions to remote Indigenous communities is undisclosed because negotiations are still ongoing.

Robodebt refunds

The financial implications of refunds related to the robodebt debacle won’t be revealed because of ongoing legal proceedings.

Peter Fray

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