FCRSC Terms of Reference

September 2010

Table of Contents

  • The Fisheries Cost Recovery Standing Committee
  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Definitions
  • 3 Cost Recovery Principles
  • 4 FCRSC Role
    • 4.1 Specific Functions
    • 4.2 Access to Information
  • 5 Membership
    • 5.1 Members
    • 5.2 Chairperson
    • 5.3 Permanent Observer
  • 6 Member Nomination and Appointment
    • 6.1 Term of Appointment
    • 6.2 Resignations
    • 6.3 Termination
    • 6.4 Vacancies
    • 6.5 Remuneration
  • 7 Operations
    • 7.1 Attendance at meetings
    • 7.2 Meeting agenda
    • 7.3 Conduct of meetings
    • 7.4 Meeting minutes
    • 7.5 Quorum
    • 7.6 Validity of Decisions
    • 7.7 Proxies
    • 7.8 Other Observers and Advisers
  • 8 Confidentiality
  • 9 Conflict of Interests
  • 10 Executive Support
    • 10.1 Funding
    • 10.2 Performance Measures of FCRSC
    • 10.3 Publication of these Terms of Reference
  • 11 FCRSC's Relationship to other Advisory Bodies
  • 12 Review and amendment of the FCRSC Terms of Reference

1 Introduction

The Government is committed to a transparent cost recovery process whereby representatives of licence holders of the aquaculture and wild harvest fisheries can critically review and advise on issues pertaining to cost recovery, including the identification and apportioning of identified cost recoverable fisheries management services (FMS) to sectors of the aquaculture and wild harvest fisheries sectors.

The Minister for Agriculture (Minister responsible for fisheries) agreed in early 2007 that the former Fisheries Cost Recovery Standing Committee and Aquaculture Cost Recovery Standing Committee amalgamate their functions and establish the Fisheries Cost Recovery Standing Committee in order to streamline the oversight and advisory role on the cost recovery process for the aquaculture and wild harvest fisheries.

2 Definitions

"Cost recovery" means the collection by the department of allocated recoverable Fisheries Management Services (management, compliance and research) and other levies including the Australian Government's Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) costs.

"DEDJTR" means the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport, and Resources

"FCRSC" means the Fisheries Cost Recovery Standing Committee.

"Fisheries Activity Costing System" (FACS) means the on-line system developed by the department to link staff time to Fisheries Management Services, and for recoverable services costings for wages and salaries including on-costs (ancillary costs associated salaries).

"Fisheries Management Services" (FMS) means services developed by DEDJTR to identify services costs (being wages and salaries, operational costs and depreciation of assets) associated with providing services to the fishing industry, and which are identified as recoverable or non-recoverable costs.

"Full Cost Recovery" (FCR) means the total collection of recoverable costs.

"Guidelines" means the Victorian Government Appointment and Remuneration Guidelines for Victorian Government Boards Statutory Bodies and Advisory Committees.

"Minister" means the Minister for Agriculture.

"Member" means a person appointed to the FCRSC by the Minister. A reference to a member includes a reference to the Chairperson unless the contrary intention is expressed.

"Party" to this Terms of Reference means DEDJTR, Seafood Industry Victoria or a representative body of the aquaculture sector that may be established at some time in the future.

"Recoverable Costs" means those FMS costs that have been identified to be recoverable from industry or a beneficiary which may be either fully or partially recoverable.

"SIV" means Seafood Industry Victoria.

3 Cost Recovery Principles

The principles of cost recovery in the Victorian commercial fishing and aquaculture industries are:

  1. The recovery of costs will be based on actual expenditure.
  2. The cost of fisheries management services should be borne by those who directly benefit from them or those who drive the need for the provision of services.
  3. The general rule of attributing costs to a particular beneficiary group is based on whether the non-existence of that group would eliminate the need to publicly provide fisheries management services (i.e. the provision of FMS is avoided because they are not required due to the fact that a particular beneficiary does not exist – this is known as the avoidable cost principle).
  4. The costs associated with the executive management of Fisheries Victoria (Executive Director, three Directors (Fisheries Management, Field Services and Policy & Licensing) & associated executive support will be non-recoverable.
  5. A base regulatory management cost should apply to industry in order to acknowledge that fisheries management provides a regulatory framework for all fisheries to function in a sustainable manner.
  6. The community's interest as a whole (including intergenerational concerns) is the responsibility of government. Being a community benefit and a public good, the costs associated with this responsibility should be fully funded from the tax base.
  7. Fisheries management services will be calculated on an activity based accounting system (Fisheries Activity Costing System) with the apportionment of costs associated with these services based upon estimated costs and benefits to particular groups.
  8. Fee for services, on the other hand, are best calculated on a fishery-by-fishery basis or aquaculture sector by sector, because of the unique nature of individual fisheries or aquaculture sectors. The cost of these services should be based on the actual costs of providing these services on a competitive commercial basis.
  9. The method of allocating fisheries management costs should be simple, cost effective, equitable and transparent. As far as practicable, a particular user group (or licence category) should not bear the costs associated with another user group.
  10. The FCRSC may provide advice concerning the capacity of a fishery or aquaculture sectors to pay FMS levies due to the existence of extenuating circumstances (e.g. the financial impact of drought conditions on particular licence holders).
  11. Compliance services deemed recoverable from industry sectors will be partially or fully recoverable depending on the service and sector.
  12. If FMS activities are recommended to be excluded from cost recoverability and are not part of the regulatory or public good role of Fisheries Victoria then these activities may not be delivered.
  13. Any proposed changes to the FACS categories will be brought to the attention of the FCRSC for comment prior to any changes being made.

4 FCRSC Role

The role of the FCRSC shall include monitoring, reviewing and critical examination of matters pertaining to cost recovery and advising the Minister for Agriculture on the ongoing operation of the cost recovery program with a view to:

  1. assuring consistency with Government policy and guidelines;
  2. promote efficiency regarding the incurrence of costs, equity and transparency regarding the attribution of costs;
  3. facilitating an understanding of the cost recovery process by affected industry sectors and stakeholders; and
  4. overseeing and facilitating through an industry/government partnership, in the context of budgetary planning, the provision of fisheries management services and research.

4.1    Specific Functions

Specifically, the FCRSC is to:

  1. give due recognition to matters contained in and the intent of, the Terms of Reference;
  2. review cost data produced by the FACS;
  3. review periodic reports on the cost recovery process;
  4. advise on the appropriateness of activity definitions;
  5. advise on the appropriateness of FACS categories and attribution of FMS costs;
  6. advise on the appropriateness of licence categories used to collect FMS levies;
  7. advise on other issues that may or will effect the amount of costs to be recovered from industry, including competitive tendering and changes in government policies;
  8. advise on other issues as requested by the Minister for Agriculture (or the Executive Director Fisheries Victoria on his behalf);
  9. advise and inform industry stakeholders on the process of cost recovery and the reasoning behind the attribution of FMS costs; and
  10. provide annual advice to the Minister as to whether the FCRSC considers that this amount should be varied for the forthcoming year, and the reasons.

4.2    Access to Information

In undertaking its functions, the FCRSC:

  • shall have access to appropriate data which DEDJTR will ensure is available in sufficient detail and timeliness for required analysis and evaluation; and
  • may request that DEDJTR carry out investigations on particular matters related to cost recovery.

5 Membership

5.1 Members

Membership of the FCRSC will comprise the following members appointed by the Minister:

  1. an independent Chairperson;
  2. up to four nominees of SIV;
  3. one nominee representing the aquaculture sector to be nominated by SIV until such time that a representative body of the aquaculture sector can be authorised to make this nomination; and
  4. up to two representatives from Fisheries Victoria, a division of DEDJTR.

5.2 Chairperson

The Chairperson of the FCRSC will be a non-governmental person endorsed by Cabinet in accordance with the Guidelines and appointed by the Minister for Agriculture for a period of up to three years, as determined by the Minister.

The Chairperson will be responsible for:

  • bringing focus and discipline to the proceedings of FCRSC meetings;
  • facilitating the achievement of informed and agreed positions;
  • reporting regularly, or when requested by the Minister, on the operation of the FCRSC and/or the results of its deliberations; and
  • ensuring that the FCRSC is providing timely high quality advice in a form that satisfies the Minister.

The Chairperson is the spokesperson for the FCRSC to the Minister and DEDJTR, and may represent the FCRSC at public functions or elsewhere as deemed appropriate by the DEDJTR. Subject to confidentiality requirements, the Chairperson will be the only member able to make public statements about the deliberations of the FCRSC, after consultation with and approval by the Minister for Agriculture.

If the Chairperson is absent, or the office of Chairperson is vacant, the members present at a meeting shall elect from the members present a member to preside at that meeting.

5.3    Permanent Observer

The Executive Director of SIV shall attend as a permanent observer.

6 Member Nomination and Appointment

The process of seeking the nomination of members of the FCRSC is conducted by the Fisheries Division of DEDJTR (i.e. Fisheries Victoria).

SIV and Fisheries Victoria shall nominate representatives for consideration for appointment by the Minister.

A person nominated for appointment as a member of the FCRSC is not a member of the FCRSC until appointed by the Minister.

A person nominated for appointment as a member of the FCRSC shall not attend a meeting of the FCRSC until appointed by the Minister for Agriculture.

Probity checks will be undertaken for all appointments and re-appointments as per the Guidelines, unless otherwise advised by the Minister.

6.1    Term of Appointment

Members (including the Chairperson) are appointed by the Minister to the FCRSC for a term of office of up to three years, or as the Minister determines, and may be eligible for reappointment.

6.2    Resignations

A member of the FCRSC may resign in writing addressed to the Minister.

6.3    Termination

A member's appointment may be terminated by:

  • mutual agreement of the member and the Minister;
  • four weeks notice given by the Minister; or
  • immediate notice given by the Minister if the Minister determines that the member has ceased to be a fit and proper person for membership of the FCRSC.

6.4 Vacancies

The office of a member becomes vacant if:

  • a member resigns under clause 6.2;
  • a member is removed from office under clause 6.3;
  • a member dies or in the opinion of the Minister becomes incapable of performing his/her duties;
  • a member becomes a bankrupt or a person disqualified from acting as a director or acting in the management of a company;
  • a member fails to attend 3 consecutive meetings without the permission of the Chairperson (in the case of the Chairperson without the permission of DEDJTR);
  • a member fails to attend 75 per cent of meetings over any given 12 month period without the permission of the Chairperson (in the case of the Chairperson without the permission of DEDJTR; or
  • a nominating body or organisation advises the Minister and their nominated member, in writing, that body or organisation wishes to nominate a replacement member.

Upon a vacancy occurring in the office of a member, the body or organisation which the member represents may nominate a replacement member for appointment by the Minister for the remainder of the former member's term of office.

6.5 Remuneration

The FCRSC is classified as a Group C, Band 3 organisation under the Guidelines.

Members, unless an employee of the public service, are entitled to remuneration (if any) fixed by the Minister.

Expenses will be paid in accordance with rates that apply to employees of DEDJTR for the provision of allowances for travelling and personal expenses.

7 Operations

7.1 Attendance at meetings

In accordance with the Guidelines, it is expected that members shall attend a minimum of 75 per cent of meetings, or at the discretion of the Chairperson.

It is recognised that members' attendance rate may be impacted by the frequency of meetings as described in clause 7.3.

7.2 Meeting agenda

It is the responsibility of the Departmental person providing administrative support services to the FCRSC to ensure that agendas and papers for meetings are circulated in a timely manner prior to the meeting.

Where practicable:

  • draft agendas shall be circulated three weeks before the meeting; and
  • agenda papers and supporting documentation shall be circulated at least two weeks prior to the meeting.

7.3 Conduct of meetings

The FCRSC shall not meet less than twice a year but may meet more frequently if deemed to be necessary. Subject to the demands of office, the Minister for Agriculture or his delegate may attend meetings.

The FCRSC shall determine its own meeting procedures, and may deal with issues out-of-session.

The Chairperson shall manage each meeting and determine the length of deliberations on agenda items. The Chairperson shall ensure that every member has adequate opportunity to participate in the discussions on each item.

Decision making shall be by way of consensus, and where such is not achievable, divergent views shall be referred to the Minister for Agriculture. All advice from the FCRSC is to be provided to the Minister in writing, together with the rationale supporting the advice.

Minutes shall be kept of every meeting and circulated for comment before being formally adopted at the next meeting.

DEDJTR shall monitor, where practicable, service delivery costs and budgets through benchmarking with other fisheries management agencies and, where appropriate, other organisations providing similar services.

DEDJTR shall provide secretariat support to the FCRSC in the form of documentation preparation, organisation of the meetings and the recording of minutes.

The Chairperson shall prepare summaries of each meeting to be included in the Chairperson's Summary which shall be published on DEDJTR's website..

SIV nominated industry members are to assist in the facilitation of industry stakeholder understanding of the cost recovery process and may take submissions from client/stakeholder sectors in respect to the cost recovery process.

7.4 Meeting minutes

Minutes must be kept of every meeting and circulated for comment before being formally adopted at the next meeting. Minutes must be provided to the Minister and the Secretary of DEDJTR in a timely manner following their adoption.

7.5 Quorum

A quorum is constituted by a majority of the members of the FCRSC for the time being holding office and must include at least one representative of each nominating body or organisation.

No meeting shall commence or continue unless a quorum is present.

7.6 Validity of Decisions

An act or decision of the FCRSC is not invalid only because of:

  1. a vacancy in the office of a member; or
  2. a defect or irregularity in the appointment of a member.

7.7 Proxies

Members may not appoint proxies to attend meetings on their behalf when they are not available to attend in person.

7.8 Other Observers and Advisers

SIV or DEDJTR may invite observers to attend meetings only with the prior approval of the Chairperson. Participation by observers in discussions of the FCRSC shall be at the invitation of the Chairperson. The cost of attendance by observers/advisers will be paid for by their respective organisations. Attendance will be for specific agenda items at the discretion of the Chairperson.

8 Confidentiality

While recognising the stated intent of openness and transparency, the deliberations of the FCRSC must be treated confidentially in order to provide a forum for independent advice and debate.

Members shall be able to discuss with their respective groups or organisations issues before the FCRSC that are identified by the Chairperson as not being of a confidential nature, but must not discuss any deliberations of the FCRSC or circulate any meeting agendas, minutes, papers or other materials publicly without the consent of the Chairperson.

The matter of confidentiality will rest not just with the individual member but also with the administration and membership of their respective groups and organisations.

9 Conflict of Interests

Members must be aware of the need to manage all real and potential conflicts of interests including those that could raise the perception of a conflict of interests.

A member who has a direct pecuniary or private interest in a matter being discussed at a meeting must declare the nature of the interest and the potential for there to be a conflict:

  1. at the commencement of a meeting in accordance with the Meeting Procedure; or
  2. as soon as possible after becoming aware of a real, potential or perceivable conflict of interests during discussions.

The Chairperson or member presiding at a meeting at which a declaration of a real, potential or perceivable conflict of interests is made shall cause the declaration to be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

A member who has made a declaration of a real, potential or perceivable conflict of interest may not be present or take part in any discussion of the matter to which the declaration relates unless the Chairperson or member presiding directs otherwise.

A member who has made a declaration of a real, potential or perceivable conflict of interest cannot vote on the matter to which the declaration relates.

10 Executive Support

DEDJTR shall provide secretarial and executive support services to the FCRSC. This support includes the recording and communicating of meeting minutes and all coordination and communication activities related to FCRSC meetings.

10.1 Funding

Funding for the FCRSC and its support will be provided by DEDJTR.

10.2 Performance Measures of FCRSC

Advice shall be given in a timely manner and incorporate a rigorous rationale of the basis for the advice.

10.3 Publication of these Terms of Reference

These Terms of Reference shall be published on a dedicated FCRSC webpage.

11 FCRSC's Relationship to other Advisory Bodies

The FCRSC will operate as a representative-based group.  In the preparation of strategic advice to Government, the FCRSC may consult other representative organisations and the broader community, as it considers relevant.

12 Review and amendment of the FCRSC Terms of Reference

  1. Either party to this Terms of Reference can request at any time:
    1. a review of this Terms of Reference; or
    2. amendments to the Terms of Reference including provision for continuation of the Terms of Reference;
  2. The request for a review or amendment in clause 12(a) must be directed to the other party in writing by registered mail, provide sufficient detail to explain the need for the review, and provide at least four weeks notice.
  3. It is the intent of the parties to this Terms of Reference that the FCRSC will continue to exist beyond the termination of this Terms of Reference.