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Federal Budget 2015: Weird announcements and surprise cuts galore

Read between the lines of Joe Hockey’s Federal Budget and you’ll find some surprising cuts and weird spending announcements that slipped under the radar.

Here are some of the sly ways the government plans on spending your money and the dramatic cuts it intends to make.

FULL LIST: Budget 2015's winners and losers
ALSO READ: Joe Hockey's 'Viagra budget'
ALSO READ: Of budgets and broken promises


School for circus kids: $100,000

We wish we were joking.

The government has announced $100K for the National Partnership on the National School for Travelling Show Children.

School chaplains: $60.6 million every year for the next four years

This allocation of funds comes on the back of last years Budget, where the government committed $243.5 million for the school chaplaincy program over five years.

The government favours chaplaincy programs, which it says aims to support student wellbeing, over ethics classes in schools.

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A war memorial in France: $99.5 million

Almost $100 million will be spent on the Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneux in France, where one of World War I’s bloodiest battles took place.

The centre will be a “lasting international legacy” of the Centenary of Anzac.

Nuclear waste storage: $22.3 million

A huge amount dedicated to increasing the storage capacity at the Lucas Heights site in Sydney’s south. A further $26.8 million will be spent on importing the UK’s nuclear waste and storing it at Lucas Heights. Seems logical.

Talking up our Free Trade Agreements: $24.6 million

This cash will be spent on promoting the Free Trade Agreements we’ve just signed with China, South Korea and Japan to the business community.

New international airports: $26.2 million over four years

The government will provide $26.2 million over four years for Townsville and Sunshine Coast airports in order to process international passengers and establish border clearance services.

Anti-people smuggling ads: $39.9 million

An ad campaign will be launched in Australia and overseas to discourage people from using people smugglers to come here by boat.

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A flag pole: $250,000

A quarter of a million dollars will be spent on a commemorative flagstaff at Bathurst on the spot where Governor Lachlan Macquarie first proclaimed the future of Bathurst.

The Republic of Estonia: $4.2 million

Estonia (yes, it’s a real country) is a small nation in Northern Europe with a population of just over one million. The government plans to implement a Social Security Agreement with Estonia to help people who have worked in both Australia and Estonia access the age pension.

Insurance taskforce: $2.1 million

The government has pledged money to set up a taskforce to look at how insurance premiums in Northern Australia can be reduced.

Antarctic program: $118.4 million

Australia wants to maintain a presence in Antarctica and will spent $118.4 million in the next financial year. The government plans to eventually buy and store a world-class ice breaker in Hobart.

Coal seam gas research: $100 million

Research will be funded to look into how to protect waterways from coal seam gas extraction and coalmining.

Indonesian diplomas: $3 million

The government is spending millions to lure Indonesian students to our shores with an opportunity to study a diploma in tropical health in Northern Australia.

Norfolk Island: $136.6 million

The sustainability of Norfolk Island is at risk and $136.6 million will be dedicated to help its residents.


Climate change funding: Slashed dramatically

It seems the environment is non-existent on the government’s agenda. Climate spending will drop drastically from $1.35 billion in 2014-15, to less than half this amount, with just $550 million expected to be spent in 2018-19 on reducing Australia’s carbon emissions. 

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Landcare: $12.3 million

The National Landcare Program will be trimmed.

Climate change technology: $3.4 million

The National Low Emissions Coal Initiative has been downsized. Initially designed to support the development and deployment of technologies that reduce emissions from coal use, the initiative will still receive $17.5 million over two years.

Foreign aid: $4 billion over three years

Despite Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s efforts to keep foreign aid intact, the budget foreign aid budget is one of the biggest casualties in the efforts to back to a surplus.

Follow Azal Khan on Twitter @AzalAnees

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