FCRSC Meeting 30 - Approved Minutes
Date: Friday 8 February 2012
Department of Primary Industries, Room 16.3, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne, VIC.
Ian Cartwright (Ind. Chair)
Geoff Ellis (Industry)
Vince Collins (Industry)
Sean Buck (Industry)
Gary Leonard (Industry)
Grant Leeworthy (Industry)
Megan Higson (DPI)
Harry Peeters (Industry)
Edward Meggitt (Newly nominated member)
Bill Allan (Industry)
Anthony Hurst (DPI)
Wayne Hagger (Industry observer)
|◊ Paper provided
|▢ Paper to be Tabled at Meeting
|Δ Verbal Report
|Welcome & items for discussion
|Apologies & guests
|Confirmation of previous Minutes & correspondence
|Progress on Action Items from previous meeting/s
|Items for discussion/Noting
|(a) Proposed levies for 2014/15
|[break / lunch]
|(b) Regulation construction
|(c) Regulatory Impact Statement process
|Next Meeting – March 2013
|Wrap Up & Close
1. Welcome and Introductions
The Chair welcomed Edward Meggitt, recently nominated by SIV as the aquaculture representative on the FCRSC.
Anthony Ciconte (Industry) and Sue Alcock (Industry)
3. Confirmation of previous Minutes
Draft Minutes of FCRSC meeting #29 of 14 December 2012 were circulated to members on 21 December 2012.
That the FCRSC confirms the Minutes of FCRSC meeting #29 of 14 December 2012.
1. The FCRSC agreed to make one minor change to paragraph 5 under section 3 on page 2 of the Minutes to state… 'The challenge is to find ways of doing things better (more cost effectively) and considering ways to better involve industry in directly delivering services with the right checks and balances'.
1. DPI to amend the Minutes of FCRSC #29 and circulate to members.
4. Progress on Action Items from meeting #29
|1. Based on further specific questions on services to be provided, DPI will schedule a follow up cost recovery workshop with the abalone fisheries with branch representatives to review 'current' cost recoverable services provided.
|2. Abalone industry representatives to provide questions to DPI at least two weeks prior to the scheduled abalone cost recovery workshop.
|3. DPI to consider how any further reductions in its appropriation would affect cost recoverable services, with a particular focus on the impact of services to the abalone industry.
|4. SIV to seek clarification from the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security on the proposed levies for the 2013/14 licensing year.
|1. Industry to review the papers provided by DPI that address various non-abalone workshop action items (relationship between research & management controls, inspections data, rec vs commercial estimates) and to provide any comment prior to the next FCRSC meeting.
|2. DPI to source and table historical research costs for Rock Lobster dating back to 2006/07 – remaining action from non-abalone cost recovery workshop.
|3. DPI to table a more detailed break-down of research activities for the Rock Lobster & Giant Crab fisheries – remaining from non-abalone cost recovery workshop.
|1. Industry to review the papers provided by DPI that address various abalone workshop action items (data entry, database management and structured fishing explanations, data on inspection activities, rec vs commercial take estimates) and to provide any comment prior to the next FCRSC meeting.
|2. DPI to analyse the scope of potential government role in the provision of any urchin research/culling – remaining from abalone cost recovery workshop.
|3. DPI to adjust schedule of services to align with Abalone Management Plan, once that Plan is finalised – remaining from abalone cost recovery workshop.
|4. DPI to investigate whether more up to date catch and effort data is available to be used in stock assessments, as well as available to industry more frequently – remaining from abalone cost recovery workshop.
|1. DPI to amend the schedules following further consultation with the abalone sector and to reflect the proposals for adjusting recovery supported by the FCRSC.
|1. The Chair to seek the Minister's view of alternative phase-in options.
|1. DPI to amend the Guidelines as requested and provide an updated version to the Committee members for review.
|2. Industry to present proposals for the attribution of costs in the Rock Lobster (WZ) fishery.
|3. DPI to confirm that any licences returned/forfeited/not renewed by industry will become null and void, and will not be re-issued.
|4. DPI to write to at least two additional abalone processors requesting abalone beach price data be provided.
|5. Industry to review the papers provided by DPI that address various FCRSC action items (statutory consultation principles, general/research permit response times, Abalone TACC process, treatment of levies when a fishery is closed, options to prevent closure of a fishery) and to provide any comment prior to the next FCRSC meeting.
Progress on Action Items from meeting #28
|1. DPI to provide more detail about the relationship between cost recovery and emergency response
|2. DPI to provide SIV with freshwater aquaculture representative groups to identify a replacement for Mr Meggitt.
|3. DPI to provide SIV with additional marine aquaculture representative groups to involve the sector in the cost recovery process.
|1. DPI to provide the Committee with a current organisation chart without names of staff, once the 'Rethinking DPI' process has been completed.
5. Items for discussion/noting
5(a) Proposed levies for 2014/15
DPI has provided the templates in which the cost recoverable services (Function, Description, and Deliverables / Milestones) are described for each fishery.
The templates have been amended following the concessions tabled for discussion at FCRSC #29.
A summary s/sheet outlining the proposed levies from 1 April 2014 for each cost recoverable regulatory service in each fishery has been provided for discussion.
- The FCRSC recalled the Chair's opening statement of FCRSC #25…. 'On the matter of 2012/13 levies (2013/14 licensing year) and the issue of rolling over by the Consumer Price Index, or apply some other level of increase, the Minister does not require comments from the FCRSC. The matter will be determined in consultation with SIV. Essentially this matter is off the FCRSC table'.
- The FCRSC noted that SIV had written to the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security seeking clarification on the proposed levies for the 2013/14 licensing year.
- As the levies for 2013/14 licensing year have not yet been determined, the FCRSC noted the rationale as to how the spreadsheet was created by DPI, i.e. current levies as the base with the blue section relating to 2013/14 levies which DPI created by applying CPI to the levies paid by industry in 2012/13. DPI was then able to estimate the proposed levies under the prospective approach for each cost recoverable service within each fishery for phasing in over three years (2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17) using salary costs for 2014/15 and DPI overheads from 2012/13. The FCRSC had previously been reviewing comparative data between the levies paid by industry in 2011/12 based on the retrospective cost recovery system and what the proposed levies would be in 2011/12 based on the agreed cost recoverable services and the agreed level of recovery under a prospective cost recovery system.
- The Committee noted that the spreadsheet contained a rough first estimate of costs to be recovered, including each of the concessions tabled at FCRSC #29; and the speadsheet provided for discussion. It was noted that final costs will be contingent on the final nature and extent of services and deliverables.
- The FCRSC noted that the proposed levies contained in the spreadsheet were estimates, i.e. CPI, salary, overhead adjustment's had not been applied to the second (2015/16) and third (2016/17) years of the phase-in.
- The FCRSC noted that DPI had attributed costs in quota managed fisheries in line with advice from the FCRSC. For example, the status quo had been maintained in the abalone fisheries and a 70/30 split between licence and quota in the Rock Lobster (EZ) and Giant Crab fisheries. DPI advised that industry had not provided a proposal for the attribution of costs in the Rock Lobster (WZ) fishery as requested at FCRSC #29. Consequently, DPI had applied the same 70/30 split. The FCRSC requested that DPI include information regarding the allocation of costs within these fisheries as a footnote in the RIS, thereby enabling all affected licence holders to review and/or provide comment.
- In the context of affordability of services, the Committee raised the question…'What if services (and by extension, costs) can't be reduced any further in a fishery?' The FCRSC noted that this question was raised at FCRSC #27, and DPI tabled a paper at FCSRC #28 that provided a number of options to prevent closure of a fishery under cost recovery. If, after each of the options had been explored, with the minimum of services being provided to deliver statutory obligations for sustainable management, and addressed the risks posed by the fishery, the fishery remains unprofitable to pursue, the fishery would likely be closed. DPI advised that this would be a last resort, and is not a good outcome for any party.
- The FCRSC were pleased that the proposed 'Small operator' concession for wild-catch fisheries has been applied to those fisheries where the average production per licence (across 4 years), within each licence category is less than 500kg's annually. This has resulted in significant reductions in the proposed levies for seven of the eight bait fisheries. The FCRSC noted that the 500kg limit created a perverse incentive for the eighth bait fishery to catch less fish, thereby qualifying for the small operator concession, and reduced levies. The FCRSC noted that an alternative option for this fishery would be to increase the level of catch, thereby reducing the levy cost as a percentage of GVP.
- The FCRSC noted that the proposed concessions for the introduction of the proposed cost recovery system were tabled at FCRSC #29; they are not yet confirmed. The rationale for each proposed concession is very important to support discussion with the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) and Treasury who may query why the cost recovery principles have not been applied in full.
- Industry unanimously requested that the preliminary costs be released to all of industry to allow a more robust debate about the cost recoverable services and deliverables to be provided by DPI. Industry opined that without this data, the problem of insufficient feedback being provided to assist in the development of the prospective cost recovery system remains. The Chair acknowledged industry's request to distribute the cost data outside of the Committee, but pointed out that the Committee had been established to work strategically on the design and operation of cost recovery, and reminded the FCRSC that he has sought the Minister's approval to release the preliminary cost data on three occasions. The Minister's advice to the Chair was that industry attendance had been expanded as requested to include a wider range of industry expertise to be involved in the development and implementation of the new cost recovery system, and that the preliminary cost data would remain Committee-in-Confidence at this time. Later stages of the process, to be conducted in 2013, would involve wider industry consultation.
- The Chair reminded the FCRSC that the Minister has previously (FCRSC #28) indicated that there may be an opportunity to consult with wider industry on the proposed levies prior to the RIS being released for consultation.
- The Chair sought clarification from DPI as to how/when this would occur. DPI advised the FCRSC that further guidance from the Minister on this matter is required and suggested that this could be achieved via the Chair's summary. Accordingly, the Committee noted that costs are confidential to committee members/advisors at this time, but that the services, milestones guidelines, etc. may be discussed more broadly with other industry groups/persons as appropriate.
- The FCRSC again noted that the proposed levies, and by extension the cost recovery schedules, do not address resource sharing arrangements in fisheries. They set out the best estimate of recreational versus commercial catch for use when attributing costs on the basis of take for some management and science services.
- Industry requested that DPI provide a soft copy of the spreadsheet in excel as opposed to the pdf version previously provided. DPI agreed to provide the FCRSC with an excel spreadsheet that contained the proposed levies.
- Whilst the FCRSC acknowledged that there were a number of significant increases in levies to be paid by certain fisheries, it would be helpful to know what percentage of GVP the proposed levies are. For example, what appears to be a significant increase in dollar terms may only be a small increase in levies as a percentage of GVP. The FCRSC noted that DPI were happy to include GVP data in the spreadsheet but had not received any feedback from industry on the GVP data provided at FCRSC #28. Industry and the SIV permanent observer agreed to review the GVP data and provide feedback to DPI (existing action item from FCRSC #28).
- The Chair instructed DPI to include whatever GVP data it did have to assist in the review of the proposed levies by the FCRSC.
- The Chair asked DPI to clarify how it will collect economic data on Victoria's fisheries in the future and as the prospective cost recovery system is implemented.
- Industry sought further clarification from DPI as to the difference in research costs between the Gippsland Lakes and Corner Inlet fisheries. DPI explained that the difference per licence holder was due to the number of licences in the fishery, but the explanation for the difference in total costs for each fishery would need to be sought from Fisheries Management and Science Branch.
- Industry sought clarification from DPI regarding the costs attributed to the Scallop fishery in view of the zero TACC at present. DPI advised that research, management, licence administration and cost recovery costs are borne by DPI irrespective of the level of TACC. However, DPI agreed to review the compliance costs attributed to the fishery given there would be 0 inspections occurring.
- The FCRSC noted the Minister's advice that cost recovery will be phased in over a three year period. This will ease the initial impact on licence holders and provide opportunities for further consideration of necessary services and technology that could continue to improve efficiency.
- The FCRSC agreed that this approach provided an incentive for industry to work more closely with DPI to improve efficiencies in the first two trial years, thereby reducing costs/levies. Industry advised that some commercial operators may choose to gear up and increase their catch and effort to offset any increase in levies. The FCRSC noted that this is not possible in quota managed fisheries.
- The FCRSC noted that there were a number of reductions in levies for some services in certain fisheries. DPI had initially phased these levies in at 30/30/40 in line with the proposed increases; DPI sought advice from the FCRSC as to whether any levy that decreased should immediately be decreased or should it be a phased decrease. The FCRSC agreed that industry should not pay a levy that is more than the actual cost of delivering that service, and any levy that decreases should decrease in full, not be a phased decrease. DPI advised the FCRSC that it would need to amend the spreadsheet accordingly.
- The FCRSC noted that there is currently 0 licences in fish receiver's scallops and aquaculture private land yabbies multi-waters fisheries. DPI advised the FCRSC that it would need to consult with relevant branches to determine an appropriate level of services that would be provided, and cost recovered, if a licence was issued in one of these fisheries.
- The aquaculture nominee to the FCRSC advised the Committee that the levy charged by the Environment Protection Agency on aquaculture operators had recently increased by 300%, and that electricity costs had also increased, so any proposed increase in levies to aquaculture licence holders was an additional concern.
- An abalone industry advisor to the FCRSC advised DPI that there is an abalone industry meeting on Tuesday 12 February 2013, and queried whether there is any scope for the abalone sector to change their previous position, and support the proposed concessions for nil cost recovery for surveillance, investigations and intelligence in the abalone fisheries. DPI advised that if all four abalone members/advisors to the FCRSC agreed to support the concessions for the three abalone fisheries by Friday 15 February 2013, then DPI would amend the schedules and proposed levies accordingly.
- DPI to provide the FCRSC with a soft copy excel spreadsheet that contains the proposed levies.
- The Chair to seek the Minister's advice via the Chair's summary on the opportunity to consult with wider industry on the proposed levies prior to the RIS being released for public consultation.
- Industry members and the SIV permanent observer to review the two GVP discussion papers and provide feedback to DPI prior to the next FCRSC meeting.
- DPI to clarify how it will collect GVP data on Victoria's fisheries in the future and as the prospective cost recovery system is implemented.
- DPI to include available GVP data on the proposed levies spreadsheet to determine levies as a percentage of GVP.
- DPI to seek feedback on the allocation of costs between licence and quota holders within the Rock Lobster (WZ) fishery from the FCRSC member affiliated with this fishery.
- DPI to include information regarding the allocation of costs within these fisheries as a footnote in the RIS, thereby enabling all affected licence holders to review and/or provide comment.
- DPI to clarify the why there is a difference in research costs between the Gippsland Lakes and Corner Inlet fisheries.
- DPI to review the compliance costs attributed to the scallop fishery in view of the zero TACC at present.
- DPI to amend the proposed levies spreadsheet to reflect the FCRSC's advice that if a levy is decreasing, then it should be effected in the first year of phase-in.
- Abalone industry advisor to confirm whether all four abalone members/advisors to the FCRSC have changed their previously stated position, and now support the proposed compliance concessions for the three abalone fisheries.
5(b) Regulation construction
There is a need for The Victorian Fisheries Authority to provide advice to DPI's legislative services branch with detailed instructions on the drafting of new regulations.
That the FCRSC discuss the process required to introduce the proposed prospective cost recovery system into regulation.
- DPI tabled a paper outlining the nature of amendments to existing regulations required to introduce the proposed prospective cost recovery system.
- The FCRSC noted the regulatory amendments required to introduce the proposed prospective cost recovery system.
5(c) Regulatory Impact Statement process
The purpose of the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) process is to ensure that regulation is only implemented or amended when there is a justified need; that only the most efficient forms of regulation are adopted; and that there is an adequate level of public consultation in the development of regulatory measures.
A RIS is required for a statutory rule or legislative instrument (e.g. Regulations) that imposes a significant economic or social burden on a sector of the public. FV considers that a RIS is required for the proposed changes in the cost recovery levies.
The RIS is assessed by the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC). VCEC provides independent advice about the adequacy of the analysis in the RIS (rather than the merits of the proposal) against the requirements of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 and the Victorian Guide to Regulation.
DPI have engaged external providers to prepare a RIS for the proposed changes to the Fisheries (Fees, Royalties and Levies) Regulations 2008. The RIS providers will attend FCRSC #31 to further describe the RIS process and content of the RIS. Once VCEC have assessed the RIS it will be put out for public comment. Summarised public submissions on and comments on the RIS will be discussed with FCRSC prior to briefing the Minister.
- The FCRSC noted that the RIS would contain dollar amounts, not fee units, but that the regulations would continue to be expressed as fee units.
6. Other Business
At FCRSC meeting #25, the FCSRC discussed and agreed upon both the actions that need to be completed in order to meet the Minister's stated intention to implement a new cost recovery regime by 1 April 2014, and the timeline required to complete those actions.
2006/07 Cost recovery fully phased in
|2007/08 & 2008/09 based on FACS data
|2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12 & 2012/13 levies rolled over by CPI
|2014/15 levies - Yr 1 of prospective system 30% (1st trial Year)
|2014/15 levies - Yr 2 of prospective system 30% (2nd trial Year)
|2014/15 levies - Yr 2 of prospective system 30% (2nd trial Year)
1. The 2008/09 year was based on the FACS data for the 2006/07 year. For the 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13 licensing years, levies were rolled over (with inflation adjustment) each year based on the 2008/09 licensing year. The FCRSC noted the history of cost recovery, the two trial years to introduce the prospective cost recovery system, and the phase-in period as outlined in the diagram above.
2. The FCRSC noted a paper tabled by DPI outlining the key dates/steps remaining associated with implementing the prospective cost recovery system by 1 April 2014:
- Preparation of the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) – now to April 2013;
- Discuss draft RIS with FCRSC – April 2013;
- Draft regulations prepared – now to April 2013;
- VCEC approves draft RIS and regulations – May 2013;
- RIS and regulations submitted to the Minister for approval to release – May/June 2013;
- RIS released for public comment – July & August 2013;
- Collate, respond and summarise public submissions – September 2013;
- Discussed summarised submissions with FCRSC – September/October 2013;
- Brief the Minister on submissions and seek approval for re-drafting of regulations (if required) – October 2013;
- Submissions and responses to RIS published on the DPI website – October 2013;
- Regulations reviewed and cleared by the Office of Chief Parliamentary Council – November 2013;
- Ministerial approval of new regulations – January/February 2014;
- New regulations gazetted – late February 2014;
- Renewal notices circulated to licence/quota holders – March 2014; and
- 2014/15 Licensing year commences – 1 April 2014.
3. The Chair reminded the FCRSC that the purpose of the next meeting would be to focus on the draft RIS.
4. The Chair stressed to industry the importance of understanding where we are in the timeline, and that the opportunity to review the operation of the prospective cost recovery system prior to the release of the RIS, including the proposed levies, is nearing an end.
5. The FCRSC noted that it would receive a presentation from the RIS providers, have an opportunity to provide feedback to DPI on the draft RIS, and that there would be an opportunity to consider the public submissions received via the RIS consultation process.
6. The FCRSC agreed that the provision of meeting papers, including the draft RIS, and summaries of public submissions must be provided to members at least one full week prior to the respective FCRSC meeting.
7. The Chair reminded the FCRSC that during the 2013/14 licensing year, he expected industry to be in on-going dialogue with DPI regarding the nature and extent of services to be provided, and any efficiency savings that could be implemented in the following year(s).
6(b) Miscellaneous matters related to the introduction of a prospective cost recovery system
- The FCRSC again discussed the introduction of a time recording system. One industry advisor was of the strong opinion that a time recording system is required to 'prove' to industry that the effort indicated by DPI in the schedules for each fishery is accurate. The majority of the FCRSC expressed real reservations about the cost of implementing a time recording system that would be linked to DPI's Project Costing Model, finance and budget systems, estimated to be $350,000 which would then be recovered from industry, and the usefulness of a time recording system to address any accountability concerns. Overall, the option of a time recording system was again considered as inappropriate at this stage.
- In noting the need for transparency about the delivery of cost recovered services, the FCRSC also acknowledged the need for practicality and simplicity. The Committee recognised that it would be the deliverables and milestones that would be important within any year, rather than the hours or dollars which would be costly to track. The Committee reiterated the conclusion reached at meeting #26 that reporting on services at the fishery level would support transparency and accountability. The Chair advised the Committee that once the prospective cost recovery system was implemented, it would be a key role of the FCRSC, or fishery specific bodies to review these fishery-level reports.
- The FCRSC noted that DPI staff had been instructed to continue to complete FACS timesheets. Some Committee members expressed surprise at this and felt that it was an inefficient use of staff resources. However the Committee did not agree that DPI should stop completing FACS timesheets.
- An industry advisor to the Committee requested FACS data be provided to industry. DPI agreed to provide the most recent year of FACS data, and the template that compliance staff fill in.
- The system currently in place is retrospective and is based on setting levies for the coming year using information provided by FACS on time spent on recoverable activities in the preceding year. Due to the breakdown of the FACS system, this data has not been used for the last four years except to reduce levies for some fisheries, and the 2006/07 levies have been 'rolled over' and increased by an appropriate CPI index provided by Treasury.
- Both DPI and industry acknowledged the shortcomings of FACS, and the need to move to forward budgeting, which would allow an increase in transparency, and enable industry to have strategic input on the nature, extent and design of services to be provided by DPI or alternative service providers, potentially realising both improved efficiency and cost savings. The problems with incurring costs and being charged after the event were acknowledged by the FCRSC.
- At FCRSC #29, the abalone industry representatives asked DPI to consider how any further reductions in its appropriation would affect cost recoverable services, with a particular focus on the impact of services to the abalone industry. DPI tabled a paper that stated in general, the nature and extent of services related to abalone fisheries would not be treated differently to other fisheries. An intent to isolate abalone services from any impact of budget reductions would require a relative reduction on funds to other DPI priorities, or reduced services to another fishery, potentially leading to non-delivery of cost recovered services in other areas.
- DPI reminded the FCRSC that all cost recovery revenue goes to the consolidated fund (Treasury), and at present, there is no link between DPI's appropriation and the levies paid by industry. The FCRSC noted that if the Victorian Government further cut DPI's appropriation, this would have an impact on DPI's ability to deliver services to industry. DPI further explained that if it can link its appropriation to the delivery of cost recoverable services, DPI would have an argument to maintain its current level of service.
- At the abalone cost recovery workshop, the abalone industry representatives asked DPI to outline potential government role in the provision of any urchin research/culling. DPI tabled a paper that indicated the Department of Sustainability and Environment is the control agency for marine pest incursion, and that the change in sea urchin numbers has been relatively gradual rather than rapid invasion of a pest requiring an emergency biosecurity response led by Government. In relation to fisheries and aquaculture, the government does not have a role in manipulating the environment to maintain its structure and function. Industry's role is to manage its own risk in the system, make any necessary business decisions and keep up to date with available information. Whilst DPI has provided monitoring support and authorisations for industry's urchin culling trial in 2010/11, funded by the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) in partnership with the Abalone Eastern Zone fishery, the remaining CCI funds are fully committed to other projects and DPI's reduced science budget is fully committed to meeting its core biological work to support stock assessments.
- The abalone industry maintained its position that the government should manage an urchin research/culling program for the benefit of the community, with some co-funding from the recreational and commercial sectors. DPI advised the FCRSC that Victoria is not the only jurisdiction that is focussing its budget on core biological work, citing the example of the Queensland Government withdrawing funding related to the protection of crops from the fruit fly. The FCRSC noted that support for research on urchins could be sought from the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre, FRDC and/or the Recreational Fishing Grants Program.
- Industry suggested that DPI should create a new sea urchin fishery licence class as a simple, cost effective way of addressing this matter. DPI advised the FCRSC that it intended to establish improved access entitlements which include licences, however there are currently 10 permits (7 in the East and 3 Central) that allow for the collection and sale of urchins.
- An industry advisor from the abalone western zone again queried the milestone(s) that relate to providing a written response to industry requests within 20 days, for example research permits. DPI advised the FCRSC that industry requests for information and comments range from phone calls to formal written or informal verbal requests. In almost all cases DPI responds within 20 working days and often immediately. Where responses take an extended period of time it is generally due to the need for additional information, to obtain approvals and or to manage workloads or other priorities including the large amount of correspondence that DPI must reply to. DPI advised the FCRSC that this matter has been raised and addressed a number of times, with DPI also providing the Committee with two Standard Operating Procedure's relating to general/research permits to illustrate the amount of work that is required to process these applications. However, industry again requested DPI to reconsider this maximum response time and replace it with one that states that 95% of written correspondence within 10 days, and the remaining 5 % to be answered within 20 days. DPI agreed to raise this matter with the relevant manager(s) and provide further advice to the FCRSC.
- The FCRSC reviewed the amended draft 'Guidelines for the operation of cost recovery' document. Industry suggested there should be a provision for a waiver in circumstances of hardship. DPI noted the view that the Fisheries Act 1995 only allows waivers where services are not provided.
- The Chair advised DPI that industry are not being provided sufficient time to review the high number of discussion papers on cost recovery that are being distributed, and reiterated industry's request of FCRSC meeting #27 that DPI provide agenda papers and supporting documentation, both in soft and hard copy to members at least one week prior to the meeting to enable members sufficient time to review.
- An industry advisor from the abalone central zone again queried whether DPI was following the consultation principles outlined in Section 3A of the Fisheries Act 1995. DPI advised the FCRSC that it would more than meet the minimum responsibilities for consultation under the Act. DPI advised the Committee that the Government is committed to a transparent cost recovery process. In order to facilitate this, the FCRSC has been established which operates under an agreed Terms of Reference (TOR) between industry and Government. Moreover, the Minister, via the Chair, had requested a broadening of industry attendance at the FCRSC meetings to reflect the major fisheries, broaden the level of expertise available; and increase the level of support for its outcomes. In the short term and to expedite progress, additional attendance is being achieved using the current provision in the FCRSC TORs for advisers. As such, the Committee, at least until the review of the TORs is complete, remains an expertise-based committee, but with significant and valuable input from a wide range of industry sectors. Wider consultation with industry will also occur via the RIS consultation process.
- The FCRSC noted that DPI have advised the industry advisor from the abalone central zone at three FCSRC meetings, and in writing on at least two occasions that it is following the consultation principles outlined in the Fisheries Act 1995. The Chair agreed that DPI had adequately answered his question on numerous occasions. The Chair asked the industry advisor to either provide advice to the FCRSC as to how DPI are not following the consultation principles, or alternatively accept DPI's response to his question.
- Industry asked if a dispute resolution panel could be established to make the final decision on levies, milestones, etc. DPI noted that regulation of fisheries was driven from legislative and regulatory requirements, with decisions ultimately made by the Minister, as such, a dispute resolution panel
is not appropriate. The Chair advised the Committee that the place to discuss all matters related to cost recovery was the FCRSC, including any concern with the proposed levies, not via correspondence to the Minister's Office. The Committee was established by the Minister to provide him, and indirectly,
the Department, with advice on the design, implementation and monitoring of cost recovery for commercial fisheries in Victoria. The Chair advised the Committee that differences of view may persist on some components of the new cost recovery regime, and that in those circumstances, that advice would be
conveyed to the Minister. The FCRSC noted that the Minister would also be guided by advice from VCEC and Scrutiny of Acts & Regulation Committee in the drafting of any new regulations.
- The degree to which all affected stakeholders have the opportunity to comment on and discuss proposed services and costs (inclusiveness).
- The degree to which the stakeholders consulted are representative of all the persons responsible for paying cost recovery levies.
- The degree to which the consultation process is cost effective.
- The degree to which there is alignment with relevant stakeholder engagement principles.
The FCRSC noted the cost incurred by DPI to conduct FCRSC meeting #28 was approximately $5,000 (venue hire, catering, accommodation, sitting fees, reimbursement of travel expenses, etc.). This estimation does not include the DPI staff cost incurred to attend the meeting (seven DPI representatives attended the meeting).
The FCRSC agreed that holding a large number of regional forums around the State will not work (time consuming and costly), nor can the FCRSC adequately represent all 42 fisheries.
The Committee noted that Seafood Industry Victoria (SIV) was a permanent observer at FCRSC meetings, and that industry could raise cost recovery matters to be discussed at FCRSC meetings via SIV, although the Committee acknowledged that SIV does not represent aquaculture licence holders. DPI maintained that the FCRSC could be open to criticism for not having measures in place to ensure FCRSC industry members/advisors adequately represented all of the wild-catch and aquaculture licence holders.
Industry suggested that DPI could use existing organisations and meetings such as Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) meetings in quota managed fisheries, or zonal forums to consult with those particular fisheries, and that SIV would be able to consult with the remaining wild-catch fisheries via other means.
To implement this approach, DPI would need to assess how representative each group/meeting is to:ensure appropriate governance arrangements are in place to identify and elect representatives; and
ensure the identified group adequately represents its members (gathering the views of members, assimilating and reporting back to the FCRSC.
DPI still expressed some concern as to whether the options considered by the FCRSC were truly representative, and that the use of DPI's website to publish the proposed service schedules, advertise the consultation period and seek written advice from affected entitlement holders could be a cost effective method of augmenting the consultation mechanisms considered.
The FCRSC noted that once the development and implementation of the cost recovery system had been achieved, the Committee would revert back to a more strategic role.
- Industry asked DPI to clarify how consultation on the services to be provided would be discussed with affected commercial operators. DPI reminded the FCRSC that at FCRSC #28, it tabled a discussion paper on this matter. The Minutes from FCRSC #28 reflect the following….
DPI tabled a discussion paper regarding the mechanism for consultation with industry on the nature and extent of services to be provided by Fisheries Victoria, including the criteria for assessing consultation options:
- The FCRSC agreed to reconsider and finalise an approach to further consultation at the next FCRSC meeting.
- The FCRSC also suggested this consultation process should be detailed in the RIS.
- The FCRSC noted that the technology workshop, schedule by DPI to discuss the possible introduction of new technology such as vessel monitoring systems, generated good debate and outcomes.
- The Chair advised the FCRSC that it had done a lot of work on the development of the cost recovery system thus far, including the development of a timeline for implementation, cost recovery principles, draft Guidelines for the operation of the system, Recoverability for each service, and working with DPI to define the level and extent of services in each fishery.
- The FCRSC further noted that the implementation of the prospective cost recovery system is just the beginning of the process. There would be on-going dialogue between industry and DPI, including the FCRSC with a view to continued improvement and associated cost savings.
- DPI to provide the most recent year of FACS data, and the template that compliance staff fill in to FCRSC.
- DPI to reconsider the milestone(s) that relate to providing a written response to industry within 20 days, e.g. research/general permit applications.
- The FCRSC to confirm the consultation process that will occur with wider industry on the level of services to be provided at FCRSC #31.
6(c) FCRSC appointments
The current term of appointment of FCRSC members expires on 30 September 2013.
- The FCRSC noted that the term of appointment of FCRSC members expiries on 30 September 2013.
- DPI advised the FCRSC on the six month process involved to appoint a new FCRSC, including seeking nominations from SIV for the four industry positions, plus the aquaculture position (until such time that an aquaculture representative body exists), undertake probity checks, Ministerial approval of nominees (including DPI nominees) and that the Chair's appointment needs to be approved by Cabinet.
- DPI advised the FCRSC that consideration should be given to the Government's policy for 50% female representation on Boards and Committees by SIV when determining nominations.
7. Next meeting:
3 April 2013.
Meeting closed at: 3:30pm
|1. DPI to provide the FCRSC with a soft copy excel spreadsheet that contains the proposed levies.
|2. The Chair to seek the Minister's advice via the Chair's summary on the opportunity to consult with wider industry on the proposed levies prior to the RIS being released for public consultation.
|3. Industry members and the SIV permanent observer to review the two GVP discussion papers and provide feedback to DPI prior to the next FCRSC meeting.
|4. DPI to clarify how it will collect economic data on Victoria's fisheries in the future and as the prospective cost recovery system is implemented.
|5. DPI to include available GVP data on the proposed levies spreadsheet to determine levies as a percentage of GVP.
|6. DPI to seek feedback on the allocation of costs between licence and quota holders within the Rock Lobster (WZ) fishery from the FCRSC member affiliated with this fishery.
|7. DPI to include information regarding the allocation of costs within these fisheries as a footnote in the RIS, thereby enabling all affected licence holders to review and/or provide comment.
|8. DPI to clarify why there is a difference in research costs between the Gippsland Lakes and Corner Inlet fisheries.
|9. DPI to review the compliance costs attributed to the scallop fishery in view of the zero TACC at present.
|10. DPI to amend the proposed levies spreadsheet to reflect the FCRSC's advice that if a levy is decreasing, then it should be effected in the first year of phase-in.
|11. Abalone industry advisor to confirm whether all four abalone members/advisors to the FCRSC have changed their previously stated position, and now support the proposed compliance concessions for the three abalone fisheries.
|1. DPI to provide the most recent year of FACS data, and the template that compliance staff fill in to FCRSC.
|2. DPI to reconsider the milestone(s) that relate to providing a written response to industry within 20 days, e.g. research/general permit applications.
|3. The FCRSC to confirm the consultation process that will occur with wider industry on the level of services to be provided at FCRSC #31.