Recreational Fishing Grants Working Group Meeting 8
21 OCTOBER 2010 - ROYAL BRIGHTON YACHT CLUB, 253 ESPLANADE, BRIGHTON VIC.
Independent Chair's Summary
This was the eighth 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
- DPI Presentation – Fisheries Victoria education policy/program
- Progress on projects previously approved to receive RFL Trust Account funding
- Forward commitment of RFL Trust Account revenue to fund Rec. Fishing Grants Program Projects
- Proposal to increase recreational fishing compliance services
- Parks Victoria Project Variation request
- RFL Trust Account revenue and expenditure 2009/10
- Parks Victoria Presentation – Lake Purrumbete boat ramp upgrade
- Recreational Fishing Grants Program Governance Review
- Small Recreational Fishing Grants Program
- Potential survey of persons attending RFL-funded recreational fishing events
2009/10 Recreational Fishing Grants Program (RFGP) – concepts for potential projects under the Commissioning Program
DPI provided a presentation on three concepts for the consideration of the Working Group through the 2009/10 Commissioning Grants Program.
The Working Group supported the following three projects:
- Lake Eildon premier Murray cod fishery - Stocking of an additional 333,000 Murray cod fingerlings each year over an initial three year period, as part of a 10 year stocking program to establish Lake Eildon as a premier Murray cod fishery at a cost of up to $800,000 over three years.
- Recovering waters fish stocking program - To restore Victoria's recreational fisheries in previously drought-affected lakes and impoundments by stocking 85,000 yearling (30 - 50 gram) rainbow trout, 110,000 brown trout fingerlings (~5 gram) and 55,000 native fish (Murray cod and golden perch fry) at a cost of up to $231,000.
- Installing near-shore fish habitat improvement structure in Port Phillip Bay - To conduct a trial program (over three years) of habitat enhancement close to three popular land-based fishing platforms in Port Phillip Bay at a cost of up to $400,000 over three years.
DPI Presentation – Fisheries Victoria education policy/program
Manager Planning, Advocacy & Education, Fisheries Victoria made a presentation to the Working Group regarding educational issues concerning Victorian fisheries.
The presentation provided an overview of the fishing education activities conducted by Fisheries Victoria which focus on school education activities, the recreational fishing fraternity and general community.
The Working Group supported the development of the key specifications of a three to five year school education program (in line with the above) to be delivered by Fisheries Vic. in conjunction with other key stakeholders.
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 325 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 91 projects in progress, including 21 Large and 36 Small projects announced through the 2009/10 round of the RFGP, 10 small events and 24 RFGP projects from prior years.
The Working Group noted the status of 91 projects that are currently in progress and the expected completion dates.
Forward commitment of RFL Trust Account revenue to fund Rec. Fishing Grants Program Projects
Fisheries Vic. proposed that some future RFL Trust Account revenue could be committed to fund the out-years of some Rec. Fishing Grants Program projects, thus adding to the available cash held in the Trust Account to fund such projects and providing certainty for the funding of relatively large, multi-year projects. It was suggested that the commitment of forward revenue would be capped at 10 per cent of the estimated revenue per year for up to three years. Note that funding for Fisheries Officers, Fish Stocking and Administration would not be included in the cap and will be based on advice from the Working Group.
The Working Group agreed in-principle to the proposal, and requested that Fisheries Vic. provide further advice regarding the 'business rules' that would apply to this arrangement.
Proposal to increase recreational fishing compliance services
DPI's capacity to deter and disrupt serious fisheries crime and ensure compliance amongst the broader fishing community is incurring increasing pressure due to:
- changing recreational fishing patterns and preferences due to population growth, demographic change (particularly age structure and ethnicity) and improvements in regional transport infrastructure enabling easier access to regional fishing opportunities; and
- Improving fishing technology.
The Working Group supported a proposal from Fisheries Victoria to fund six additional Fisheries Officers (increasing the total number to 13) from Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Account.
Project Variation request
The Minister for Agriculture approved a disbursement of RFL Trust Account revenue of $110,000 (GST inclusive) to fund Parks Victoria for a 'Flinders Jetty – Recreational Fishing Platform' project through the 2009/10 round of the Recreational Fishing Grants Program – Large Grants Program.
The Working Group considered and did not support a project variation request seeking additional RFL Trust Account funding for the project. Accordingly, grant funds will be retained until 2011/12 when Parks Victoria can proceed with the project.
RFL Trust Account revenue and expenditure 2009/10
A report on how amounts paid into the RFL Trust Account 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 Trust Account revenue and expenditure Report to both Houses Parliament was provided to key stakeholders following its tabling on 15 September 2010.
Parks Victoria Presentation – Lake Purrumbete boat ramp upgrade
The Ranger-in-Charge East Otways and A/Regional Manager West, Parks Victoria made a presentation about a proposed concept to upgrade the existing Lake Purrumbete boat ramp, with an elevated causeway from the ramp to the lake to provide on-going access during times of lower water levels.
Parks Victoria provided background information regarding current and predicted future water levels at the lake, the results of a risk assessment and four costed options to fix the problem. The risk score card indicated that the probability of the lake drying to a point where boat access is not possible from the current temporary or permanent infrastructure was almost certain.
The Working Group agreed that a project to fix the problem should be jointly supported by Parks Vic., Marine Safety Vic. and Fisheries Vic. and that a high-level meeting involving these agencies should be convened to progress this matter.
Small Recreational Fishing Grants Program
The Small Grants Program was launched on 29 March 2010. The Minister approved a disbursement of up to $220,000 (GST inclusive) to fund projects that improve public recreational fishing in Victoria.
DPI provided an update on the program and advised the Working Group that 36 projects had been approved for funding under the program thus far.
The Working Group noted the progress of the Small Grants Program and considered a further three applications for funding.
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. DPI commissioned a supplementary review which is anticipated to be completed by the end of October 2010.
Potential survey of persons attending recreational fishing events
The Working Group discussed the possibility of providing grant recipients who have been successful in receiving RFL Trust Account funding to conduct a fishing event "participant feedback forms" for completion by event attendees.
The forms would be labelled in line with the RFGP Style Guide to include relevant logos and fund source acknowledgement, and would provide the Working Group with some valuable information about the successful (or other) aspects of the events and further alert fishers about the use of licence funds.
The Working Group supported the development of the feedback form for further review and implementation.
Next meeting: Early December 2010 – Date to be advised.
Recreational Fishing Grants Working Group