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Ants And Rain Gauges: The Quirkier Things Your Tax Dollars Will Be Spent On This Budget

The federal Budget is in, and as we’re just weeks away from an election, it is naturally full of things voters usually want to hear about.

There are tax cuts, boosts to education and health, and a lot of shiny new infrastructure projects.

But if you’re struggling to get through a lot of indecipherable numbers, dense terms like ‘forward estimates’ and ‘economic diversification’ -- don't worry, we've got you covered.

You don't need to go through the towering stack of small-print budget documents to find out what's in there, because we did it for you.

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You’ve heard all about how the budget deficit this year is $4.2 billion and how it’s projected to be a $7.1 billion surplus next year. You’ve heard about the big mental health boost, the massive infrastructure spend, and the lack of any increase in Newstart.

But here’s a few other things you might be interested in hearing about (it’s your tax dollars they’re spending, after all):

Wait for it ... Image: Getty
  • $5m to the University of Melbourne for its Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory. This is to help Australian astroparticle researchers become global players in “dark matter research”. Yes, really;
  • $28m over four years for the Bureau of Meteorology to install radars and rain gauges;
  • Increasing the number of work and holiday visas for Indonesian citizens from 2500 to 5000;
  • More incentives for young Australians to work in seasonal harvest work out in the regions. There's $24m to give jobseekers more info and help in taking up harvesting jobs, as well as giving job providers an incentive to place seekers into those jobs;
  • $15m over three years for Questacon. Because, why not, it’s Questacon, and no school trip to Canberra is complete without it.

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  • Speaking of school, there’s also $5 million for the Life Education Australia group – with its beloved mascot, Healthy Harold – to keep doing its work. You might remember a few years ago, the government almost defunded the group, but now they’re back on track;
  • Making donations to men’s and women’s sheds tax deductible. Also tax-deductible will be donations to groups including China Matters, Motherless Daughters Australia, and the Headstone Project Tasmania;
  • There’s also $2.5 million for preparatory work on a national orphanage museum;
  • ANTS: Believe it or not, there are actually THREE separate programs to deal with certain types of ants. There’s $18.3 million over three years for a red fire ant eradication program; $9.2m for controlling yellow crazy ants in Queensland’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area; and another $8.4 million for to “signficantly advance the response of the biosecurity threat of Argentine ants” on Norfolk Island.
Image: AAP
  • $2m for the Australian Red Cross Blood Service to increase access to donor milk for premature babies, with a centralised donor milk bank service;
  • $300,000 to support the Australian Minifootball Federation to host the world Minifootball Federation World Cup in Perth. If you’re wondering what minifootball is, it’s just like regular football, but with five or seven players on each team instead of the standard 11. Australia made it to the quarter finals of the 2017 World Cup, and will be hoping to build on that when the tournament is held later this year.

Featured image: Getty