What you missed in the Budget
SCOTT Morrison has focused on tax relief, creating jobs, and hospital funding in his Budget speech. But if you were listening out for how much money was going into the public broadcaster or how many millions were being poured into a Captain Cook memorial, you wouldn't have heard a thing.
Here are the hidden nasties and surprise sweeteners in this year's Budget.
CUTS AND CRACKED DOWNS
Tax on good-looking people
Bad news for Australia's really, ridiculously, good-looking people. From July 1, 2019, high-profile individuals will be "no longer able to take advantage of lower tax rates by licensing their fame or image to another entity". You might be asking, "What?" Apparently, high-profile individuals such as sportspeople and actors can license their fame or image to another entity, such as a business or trust. Income for the use of their fame or image goes to the entity that holds the licence, creating the opportunity to take advantage of different tax treatments. The change will ensure all remuneration, including payments and non-cash benefits, provided for the commercial exploitation of a person's fame or image will be included in the assessable income of that individual.
The national broadcaster is being slugged with a funding cut of $83.7 million over three years. The government is achieving the saving, intended to "ensure the ABC continues to find back-office efficiencies", by freezing its funding at 2018-19 levels. This will save taxpayers $3.16 billion over the 2019-20 to 2021-22 period.
Online hotel booking tax
Hot on the heels of the online shopping tax, which will impose GST on low-value goods bought from overseas retailers, the government is setting its sights on overseas-based websites selling hotel accommodation in Australia. From July 1, 2019, overseas businesses will have to calculate their GST turnover the same way as local sellers, ending an exemption introduced in 2005.
Crackdown on tax evasion
The Australian Taxation Office will roll out "mobile strike teams", more auditors and a community hotline to target Australians who are hiding transactions and avoiding tax. The cash crackdown is expected to bring in an additional $3 billion over four years.
War on illegal tobacco
The government will crackdown on illegal tobacco, known as chop chop, whether it is illegally smuggled to our shores, stolen from licensed warehouses or produced domestically. The initiative is expected to raise $3.6 billion over four years. To ensure the tax is paid even if the tobacco is stolen, importers will now have to pay all duty and tax upfront at the border, while a task force will target the organised crime groups at the centre of the trade.
A new tax on sea imports
From July 1, 2019, port operators will be slugged with a new levy of $10 million per 20-foot container, or $1 per tonne for non-containerised cargo. The government will invest the estimated $360 million over four years in measures to detect, identify and respond to exotic pests and diseases earlier.
An Anti-Slavery Unit will be set up - at a cost of $3.6 million - to prevent modern slavery from occurring in the supply chains and operations of businesses operating in Australia.
Bad news for new arrivals
If you're new to Australia, you will have to wait longer before you're entitled to certain benefits. This is because the government wants to save $202.5 million over five years by increasing the waiting period for new migrants to access benefits from three years to four years.
Attack on the drones
Drone enthusiasts might have to obey stricter rules when they take to the skies in coming years. The government will spend $2.9 million to support the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to manage safety and compliance for drone use.
SURPRISE SPENDING AND SPLURGES
You'll never be lost again
If you have no sense of direction there is good news on the horizon because the government will spend $160.9 million over four years to improve the "accuracy, integrity and availability of satellite navigation". They reckon the new funding will increase GPS to an accuracy of 10 centimetres across all of Australia and its maritime zones, including to areas without mobile phone coverage.
Move over NASA. The government is investing $26 million to establish Australia's very own space agency. An extra $15 million over three years from 2019-20 will also help us partner up with other international agencies and programs.
$49 million Captain Cook project
In a move that is almost certainly not going to please some parts of the Australian community, the government has pledged almost $49 million to commemorate the 250th anniversary of James Cook's first voyage to Australia and the Pacific.
It will go towards supporting events and exhibitions including a digital platform and educational material on this significant anniversary in Australia's history, and the voyaging of the replica Endeavour.
Half a million to transfer records
The government will provide $500,000 to transfer custody of the records of both the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory to the Attorney-General's Department.
Keeping the boats stopped
Operation Sovereign Borders will receive an extra $62.2 million over two years, with the money going towards continued regional maritime security activities, international action to tackle people smuggling, supporting offshore detention and resettlement arrangements.
Aussies in the Antarctic
Australia is looking to make its presence felt in the Antarctic, where the government will provide $35.7 million over four years for a science program which will look into its climate and ecosystems.
Flying the Aussie flag abroad
Looking to spread Aussie influence around the globe, the government has pledged $19.2 million over four years to open a new Consulate-General in Kolkata, India and a new High Commission in Funafuti, Tuvalu. The government has also announced it will splurge $6 million over four years to "expand engagement" with emerging Indo-Pacific leaders.
Women's World Cup bid
An extra $4 million has been promised for Football Federation Australia's bid for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.
No tax for 2020 in 2020
The International Cricket Council's subsidiary will be given a five-year income tax exemption for the ICC World Twenty20 to be held in 2020 as part of the government's "commitment" to bringing the event to Australia. The measure is estimated to have "an unquantifiable cost to revenue" over the forward estimates.
Aussie Aussie Aussie
A whopping $10.1 million will be spent on "protecting the integrity of Australian sport", including anti-doping measures. The measure is one component of a $154.3 million investment over five years in "building a more active Australia".
Cruise ships bound for Sydney
Sydney Harbour could get a whole lot more crowded thanks to the government's $300,000 investment into developing for more cruise ship berthing sites.
New arrivals will get a helping hand, with $5 million going towards community organisations that help migrants integrate into Australian life. Grants will support "practical neighbourhood activities" that foster integration and inclusion, skill-building and mentoring programs.
The bright lights of Aussiewood
The government will splash $140 million over four years to attract international investment and support local jobs in the film industry through a Location Incentive Funding Program. This funding will complement an existing "location offset" and is designed to attract more big-budget films like the recent Thor movie filmed in Queensland.
Commitment to MH17
The government will provide $50.3 million over four years from 2018-19 to support the Dutch prosecution of those responsible for downing Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine in 2014. The funding will meet Australia's share of the prosecution costs and help family members of the victims participate in court proceedings.
We'll all be encouraged to sign up to the Australian Organ Donor Register by a range of partner organisations, who will receive $400,000 for awareness-raising campaigns to help more Aussies receive lifesaving organ transplants.
National apology for child victims
The government will provide $1.6 million over two years to develop and deliver a national apology to the victims of institutional child sexual abuse, while $6.3 million has been promised for a task force to respond to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
More CCTV, lights and bollards
An extra $30 million confiscated from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act will go towards extending the Safer Communities Fund, which provides grant funding to local government and organisations for crime prevention initiatives, including closed-circuit television, lights and bollards.