Fisheries Cost Recovery Standing Committee Meeting #14

5 October 2007

Venue: 369 Royal Parade, Parkville

Chair's Summary


  • Mr Ian Cartwright (Chair)
  • Mr David Lucas (Industry member)
  • Mr Jon Presser (DPI member)
  • Dr Terry Truscott (DPI member)
  • Mr Gerry Geen (Industry member)
  • Mr Tim Mirabella (Industry member)
  • Mr Hugh Meggitt (Industry member)
  • Mr Ross McGowan (SIV)


  • Mr Paul Welsby (Industry member)

Permanent observers:

  • Mr Ross McGowan (SIV)

Executive Support:

  • Mr Robert Krix (DPI member)


  • Mr Peter Rawlinson


This was the third meeting of the FCRSC in 2007. The Committee continued to meet its ongoing role of monitoring costs on behalf of industry, while looking to the future and final agreement of its revised TORs which will empower the Committee to have greater involvement in forward budgeting. The objective of this involvement will be to provide advice on the establishment and monitoring of service level agreements and performance indicators for the management services provided by DPI. DPI and SIV are to develop a paper for FCRSC consideration on a framework for improving the opportunity for industry and FCRDC input into forward budgeting and monitoring.

The Committee welcomed the involvement of Robert Krix who will be replacing Peter Rawlinson as the Committee Executive Officer. Peter has now resigned from DPI and the Committee recognised his excellent work in developing what is now widely considered to be the most transparent and robust fisheries cost recovery process in Australia.

Also new to the Committee was Mr Hugh Meggitt who has been appointed on the basis of his nomination by SIV as the representative for the aquaculture sector.

The fourteenth meeting of the FCRSC focused on the following issues:

  • Flow-on impacts on industry of reduced licence numbers.
  • Review of the 2008 Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS).
  • Aquaculture representation on the FCRSC.
  • A fixed-base levy charge for management services for the aquaculture sector.
  • A fixed –term Fishery Access License (FAL) fee.

Flow-on impacts on industry of reduced licence numbers

As at previous FCRSC meetings, the matter of Government-initiated downward adjustment to fishery access licences numbers (for example, from licence buybacks/creation of MPAs) was discussed. While such buybacks are generally voluntary in nature, those remaining in a fishery that has been targeted for a substantial buyback could be significantly disadvantaged by having to face an increased share of what are relatively fixed fisheries management costs. The Committee noted that:

  • these decisions are considered to be a reallocation of access rights to the resource;
  • the affected industry should not bear the cost burden of such decisions; and
  • the related incurred fixed costs (as met by industry) should be attributed to the consequent beneficiaries of such access.

Review of the 2008 Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS)

The Committee reviewed the 2008 RIS, suggesting a number of changes to be incorporated in the final document prior to circulation for comment. It will be important to ensure that communication and engagement with all stakeholders is effective. DPI will be complying with its regulatory requirements to communicate the availability of the RIS to stakeholders, including advertising its availability in the print media and making it available via its internet site and Customer Service Centre. In addition, DPI will:

  • write to all wild catch and aquaculture sector licence holders advising of the production of the RIS and the process for public comment, and that the RIS is available on the web; and
  • write to the head of all wild catch and aquaculture sector representative organisations to provide a copy of the RIS, together with advice on the process for providing comment on the RIS.

Aquaculture representation on the FCRSC

Mr Hugh Meggitt has been appointed to the Committee as the aquaculture representative. The Committee noted that there is no Victorian aquaculture peak group, and that this creates some challenges for Mr Meggitt and DPI with respect to communicating effectively with the sector on cost recovery matters. It was agreed to amend the TORs of the Committee to read that industry representation on the committee would be via '…. five nominees of Seafood Industry Victoria, with one of the nominees representing the aquaculture sector ... until such time as an aquaculture representative body can be authorised to make this nomination'.

There was discussion regarding the possible future inclusion in the FCRSC of a person with expertise in mariculture.

Fixed-base levy charge for management services for the aquaculture sector

The Committee considered an investigation of the feasibility of instituting a fixed-base levy charge (e.g. $100) for the provision of Fisheries Management Services to the aquaculture sector, as is current practice for wild harvest fisheries.

Fixed –term Fishery Access License (FAL) fee

The Committee discussed fixing fisheries management charges for three years (subject to CPI adjustment) and the timing for the implementation of such an arrangement (possibly in 2009). Such a fee would serve as a 'base-line charge' for the provision of 'an agreed level of service' by Government, with any additional services to be provided at an additional cost to be met by the recipient.

Industry expressed strong reservations about fixing fees at this point in time since there had limited been experience with the FACS system and levels of services and costs had yet to be discussed.

No agreement was reached on fixing FAL fees for more than one year.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the FCRSC is scheduled for Wednesday 19 December 2007 at the Fisheries Co-Management Council offices.