Treasurer Wayne Swan may have delivered a budget with an $18 billion deficit but he still managed to find cash for some eyebrow-raising measures.
SmartCompany has scoured the budget papers to uncover those measures, which while they may be very important for the people they affect, are on the whacky scale.
1. Captain Nemo
Everyone loves Finding Nemo right? Well the government has allocated $41.6 million payment to the film industry to attract major international productions, including the filming of Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo.
2. Space asset tracking
A C-band space surveillance radar will be relocated to WA at a cost of $500,000. The radar will “track space assets and debris” and provide “warnings of possible collisions between space objects, thereby reducing the danger posed by space debris”.
3. Video games
Gamers get a whopping $20 million over three years which will go to the Australian Interactive Games Fund to help support the development of the interactive video gaming industry in Australia.
4. Support for chestnut farmers
Our farmers need all the help they can get but the very specific category of chestnut farmers came in for some budget largesse. The “chestnut levies and export charge” has been slashed by $5 a tonne, but confusingly there’s also a new levy of $5 a tonne on chestnuts.
5. Protecting members of the public from MPs
One of the quirkiest funding measures is that to protect the public from their Members of Parliament. Funding has been allocated for public liability insurance for MPs for claims made against them for injury and damage “caused to members of the public by senators and members”.
6. Bullet identification
Where do all those bullets come from? The budget includes $9.1 million over four years for an Australian Ballistics Identification Network to work that out.
7. Securing the G20 meeting
You know those G20 meetings that are good for photo opportunities and not much else? Australia is hosting one next year and will spend $7.1 million for the Australian Defence Force to provide security.
8. Smoking patrols
An undisclosed sum has been set aside to step up tobacco patrols, to police the government’s plain packaging laws for cigarettes.
Telepresence will get $19.3 million over the next five years to allow the government to tele-conference. Have they heard of a phone?
10. Noise-proofing a church
In the city of churches, Adelaide, $5 million has been set aside to noise-proof a Greek orthodox church, part-funded by an Adelaide noise levy. Bless them.