Recreational Fishing Grants Working Group Meeting 7
23 AUGUST 2010 - ROYAL BRIGHTON YACHT CLUB, 253 ESPLANADE, BRIGHTON VIC.
Independent Chair's Summary
This was the seventh meeting of the Recreational Fishing Grants Working Group. Key issues discussed in the meeting included:
- 2009/10 Recreational Fishing Grants Program (RFGP) – concepts for potential projects under the Commissioning Program
- Content of 2010/11 Recreational Fishing Grants Program
- Progress on projects previously approved to receive RFL T/A funding
- Assessment of 2009/10 RFGP Large Grant applications
- Potential RFL exemptions for fishing events funded by RFL Trust Account revenue
- RFL Trust Account revenue and expenditure 2009/10
- Recreational Fishing Grants Program Governance Review
2009/10 Recreational Fishing Grants Program (RFGP) – concepts for potential projects under the Commissioning Program
Travis Dowling, Director Fisheries Management, DPI provided a presentation on seven concepts for the consideration of the Working Group through the 2009/10 Commissioning Grants Program.
The Working Group provided in-principle support for three projects to be developed by Fisheries Victoria for the Working Group's further consideration.
Content of 2010/11 Recreational Fishing Grants Program
The Working Group discussed its role in relation to the program and prepared advice to the Minister Responsible for Fisheries in line with its Terms of Reference. The Working Group fine-tuned the guidelines and conditions for the Small and Large Grants Programs with the aim of further simplifying the grant application process.
In addition, the Working Group agreed that DPI should increase awareness of the stocking of fish through the program by highlighting reference to fish stocking in the note on the front page of the application form; also include information regarding on-going funding of $200,000 of Recreational Fishing Licence revenue to be provided to Fisheries Victoria to complement the state-wide fish stocking program.
Progress on projects previously approved to receive RFL T/A funding
Since the commencement of the RFGP in 2001/02, RFL revenue has funded more than 305 projects across Victoria to improve recreational fishing opportunities.
The Working Group received an update on the progress of previously funded RFGP projects that are yet to be completed. Currently there are 58 projects in progress, including 15 small events, 12 projects announced through the 2008/09 round of the RFGP, 20 Small Grant projects and 11 RFGP projects from prior years.
The Working Group noted the status of 58 projects that are currently in progress and the expected completion dates.
Assessment of 2009/10 RFGP Large Grant Applications
The primary role of the Working Group is to provide advice to the Minister Responsible for Fisheries on expenditure of all Recreational Fishing Licence (RFL) revenue.
Preliminary assessment of 54 Large Grant applications occurred at Working Group meeting #6 on 21 June 2010, and agreed that a number of project proposals had merit, but lacked detailed information on project works, quotes and sufficient support from recreational anglers. DPI contacted selected grant applicants to seek additional information for further consideration by the Working Group, and consensus on supported projects was reached out-of-session.
Potential RFL exemptions for fishing events funded by RFL Trust Account revenue
A Recreational Fishing Licence (RFL) covers all forms of recreational fishing in all of Victoria's marine, estuarine and freshwaters. Unless a person is exempt, an RFL is required to take any fish species using any method in Victorian waters; this includes recreational fishing events funded from RFL revenue.
The Working Group noted that a 'group' category of licence currently exists – specifically for fishing events that is available to event organisers.
The Working Group noted that any person under the age of 18 or over the age of 70, as well as Carers, the holder of a Seniors Card (Vic. and other States) and other concession card holders are exempt from the requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence.
RFL Trust Account revenue and expenditure 2009/10
A report on how amounts paid into the RFL T/A were disbursed is tabled in both Houses of Parliament each year. The report outlines all revenues and expenditures associated with the Trust Account including provision to fund previously approved projects extending into future years as applicable.
The Working Group noted that the draft 2009/10 RFL T/A Report to Parliament had been prepared and will be provided to key stakeholders, including the Working Group following its tabling in both Houses of Parliament during September 2010.
Recreational Fishing Grants Program Governance Review
DPI instigated a governance audit of the RFGP to ensure that it has sound arrangements in place for managing the expenditure of licence funds. The audit was completed in December 2009.
The Working Group noted that DPI has implemented a number of recommendations from the RFGP Governance Audit.
Next meeting: To be advised.
Recreational Fishing Grants Working Group