Fisheries Cost Recovery Standing Committee Meeting #15

Thursday 26 March 2008

Venue: Level 6, 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 Hugh Meggitt (Industry member)


  • Mr Tim Mirabella (Industry member)

Permanent Observer:

  • Mr Ross McGowan (SIV)

Executive Support:

  • Mr Robert Krix (DPI member)


The meeting was the first of 2008, and provided an opportunity to review the work of the Fisheries Cost Recovery Standing Committee (FCRSC) and map out intended activities for this year. The Committee also fulfilled its ongoing role of monitoring costs on behalf of industry. While the Committee has been successful in overseeing the implementation of the Cost Recovery process and ensuring that costs are applied equitably and as correctly as possible, it has not made the progress that was hoped for with establishing forward-looking service and cost planning for management services provided by DPI. A planned review of the cost recovery process has been agreed to move this issue along as a matter of priority in 2008, and DPI has expressed willingness to provide the required resources to ensure the review is adequately supported.

The other issue that the Committee will continue to work on is communication with industry. This summary should reach all licence holders within a reasonable period following a FCRSC meeting (2-3 weeks) and agendas for future meetings should be circulated at least two weeks before meetings to enable an opportunity for industry input, in addition to that provided by the industry members of the Committee.

Mr Bill Allan, President of the Victorian Commercial Fisherman's Association attended the meeting and raised a number of issues of concern on behalf of the eel aquaculture sector.

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

  • Improving communication with industry on cost recovery issues;
  • A comprehensive review of fisheries cost recovery;
  • A fixed-base levy charge for management services for the aquaculture sector; and
  • Western Zone Abalone Fees & Levies

Improving communication with industry on cost recovery issues

The Committee has given considerable thought to the effective engagement of industry, and acknowledges the importance of transparent processes and the opportunity for industry input -on occasions other than in response to the annual RIS process. The Committee remains open and receptive to opportunities to improve.

The Chair's Summary continues to be circulated after each Committee meeting, with the intention for it to reach all license holders, either via SIV and then peak bodies in the case of a wild fishery, or via DPI to all aquaculture license holders. If this is not occurring in a timely manner, the Committee would like to be informed of this.

The lack of a representative body for the aquaculture industry continues to be a constraint to effective communication with the industry.
Observers remain welcome to attend meetings to observe particular items or raise issues of concern directly with the Committee in accordance with the process laid out in Section 5.11 of the Committee's Terms of Reference. While some may see the process as somewhat bureaucratic, it reflects the role and functions of the FCRSC and need not be a constraint; no requests to observe a FCRSC meeting have been denied.

The issue of information flow is to be addressed by the cost recovery review (refer next section of Chair's Summary).

Finally, I should like to stress that communication is a two-way street. Industry is at liberty to, and in fact, is encouraged to raise issues concerning cost recovery with SIV and the Department of Primary Industries at any time. Industry can contact either SIV (wild fisheries) or DPI (wild and aquaculture fisheries) and contact details are provided at the end of this summary; if you have any queries when reading this, please do raise them.

Comprehensive review of fisheries cost recovery

The FCRSC has made good progress in terms of 'bedding down' the cost recovery system. It had not been so successful however, in furthering a more comprehensive approach involving engagement by industry in forward budgeting and planning. Specifically, there is a need to establish a process to establish and monitor, through performance measures, what fisheries management services will be delivered, when and at what cost. This process should be linked to broader DPI planning and reporting processes, as previously discussed at FCRSC.

To address this issue, the Committee has endorsed a DPI proposal to conduct a Cost Recovery Review during 2008. It will be important to ensure that the wider wild and aquaculture fisheries have every opportunity for input into the process. DPI will determine the resources required to conduct the review and commence preparation of a draft discussion paper in consultation with SIV. It is intended to complete the review by the end of calendar year 2008.

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

As with the wild capture fishery, the intention of the fixed charge per license is to ensure that all licence holders made a contribution to the fishery overhead; in this way, the level of general overhead attached to attributed hours will reduce, and there will be less likelihood of the larger fisheries subsidising smaller fisheries.

It should be noted that the fixed-base levy is not an additional charge -but a component of what is already being charged/ recovered. The Committee agreed in-principle, that the application of a $75 base-rate as a component of the FMS is fair and reasonable.

Since this charge would not be introduced until the next levy period, there was time to raise the issue in advance of the RIS to obtain feedback from the aquaculture industry.

Western Zone Abalone Fees & Levies

An issue was raised by industry concerning the estimation and collection of the royalty (capped at 7.2% of abalone GVP excluding the Peak body and Abalone Resource Development Levy) that applies to an abalone quota unit for the Western Zone abalone fishery.

It was agreed that the Chair FCRSC would write to the Executive Director Fisheries Victoria recommending that licence renewal notices for Western Zone Abalone Fishery Access Licences and quota units are varied by including a negative royalty in accordance with a previous agreement (between Industry and Government) and the formula prescribed in Regulation 14 of the Fisheries (Fees, Royalties and Levies) Regulations 2008.

Next Meeting: Wed. 9 July 2008 – Department of Primary Industries, Attwood (to be confirmed).

FCRSC contacts:

Robert Krix
Fisheries Statutory Support Manager
Fisheries Victoria
Department of Primary Industries (DPI)
GPO Box 4440
1 Spring St
Melbourne 3001
Mobile No: 0411 258 216
DPI Ph: 9658 4369 Fax: 9658 4380
Fisheries Co-Management Council (FCC)
Ph : 9347 9299 Fax: 9347 9399

Ross McGowan
Executive Director
Seafood Industry Victoria (SIV)
484 William Street
Ph: 9329 5660