2016 Federal Budget: surprises and oddities


It's not all super tax and school funding.

Who said the Federal Budget can't be fun?


Along with the standard fare around balancing the books and stoking the economy, every federal budget offers up a few oddities that reflect lesser-known agendas, some effective lobbying or perhaps just good plain sense.

This year, of course, is no exception.

Tax-free deer velvet!

This is great news for anyone looking to export some quality local deer velvet to overseas relatives, but perhaps not such great news if you happen to be a deer: from 1 July the Federal Government will eliminate the excise levy on the domestic production and sale of deer velvet and the customs charge on exporting Australian deer products.

Cyber Ambassador on the job

This one actually makes a lot of sense, given the rise of cyber insecurity in recent times. The Federal Government has set aside $2.7 million to establish Australia's first Cyber Ambassador, a new diplomatic role.

The ambassador will promote Australia's position on cybersecurity overseas. At this point it is unclear if the new ambassador will conduct all of their business over email or if they will require a travel budget.

Welcome to the (Rum) Jungle

The Government is providing $10.8 million for the Rum Jungle. But if you were hoping for a federally funded national booze-fest, you will be disappointed – this is actually about rehabilitating the oddly named uranium mine.

Unleashing herpes

Australian rivers are overrun with non-native carp. The CSIRO has developed a genius plan to unleash a virus that only affects the waterway pests. The kicker? The virus is a unique strain of carp herpes that will eventually, it is hoped, wipe out carp populations.

Landing pads in innovation hot spots

The government will provide $2.4 million to help Australian businesses in Singapore and Berlin be more innovative, but at this point it's not actually clear what a "landing pad" will involve.

Fancy new senate ballot papers

The government is spending $4.8 million on a new system to count Senate votes and, more importantly, put political party logos on the new ballot paper. Expect to see Independent Senator Ricky Muir's face on your next ballot. (Muir's face is the logo of the Motoring Enthusiasts Party).

A tax rebate to WET your whistle

The federal budget includes a new Wine Equalisation Tax (or WET!) rebate. Now only small Australian wine producers will be eligible for a tax break. In good news for spirit lovers, the excise will soon apply to local distilleries as well to help Australian whiskey distillery start ups and producers of other liquors market their products to the world.

For a more serious take on the nuts and bolts of the budget, see our detailed Budget 2016 summary.


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