Large Grants Program Guidelines and Conditions

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Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Account

(For projects from $5,001 up to $100,000 - GST Exclusive)

Recreational Fishing Grants Program 

The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) develops an annual Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Account Grants Program for the consideration of the Minister for Agriculture. The following guidelines and conditions are provided to assist grant applicants to prepare and submit applications within the Large Grants Program of the Recreational Fishing Grants Program.

A Small Grants Program, for grants up to $5,000 (GST exclusive) is continually open, year round, subject to the allocation of the available grant funds for any given period. A grant application can be submitted through our website.

Please note that we may make the information that is provided by a grant applicant in a grant application publicly available.

1. Funds will be provided for the improvement of public recreational fishing in Victoria in the following four (4) categories:

  1. Recreational fishing access and facilities;
  2. Recreational fisheries' sustainability and habitat improvement;
  3. Recreational fishing-related education, information and training; and
  4. Recreational fisheries research.

(Note. $857,000 of Recreational Fishing Licence revenue was provided to The Victorian Fisheries Authority in 2014/15 to boost fish stocking. For ALL fish stocking proposals contact The Victorian Fisheries Authority on 03 5770 8045 during normal business hours.)

2. Preference will be given to projects that leverage off other projects, and/or to which some financial co-funding or in-kind contribution can be made by the project proponent(s) to the funds being sought.

Grants will be offered to statutory bodies/government agencies and incorporated bodies/associations. Funding is not available to natural persons, or for improvements to recreational boating-related infrastructure that may be funded from recreational vessel registration fees under the control of the Department of Transport.

Enquiries about the Boating Safety and Facilities Program should be directed to the Grants Administration Team on 1800 337 222 or via email at boating.grants@ecodev.vic.gov.au

Note. Although RFL Trust Account revenue is not generally available for the purpose of funding improvements to recreational boating-related infrastructure, in exceptional circumstances, and where a clear benefit to boat-based recreational fishing can be demonstrated, such funding may be provided, subject to the consideration by the Recreational Fishing Grants Working Group and approval of the Minister for Agriculture.

3. Funds available to the Recreational Fishing Grants Program are limited, and not all project applications can be supported. All applications are referred to, and assessed by the Recreational Fishing Grants Working Group prior to referral to the Minister for consideration. No correspondence will be entered into following an applicant's receipt of written advice from the department that an application was unsuccessful.

4. Past performance in maintaining and operating a recreational fishing-related facility will be taken into account to ensure that funds are directed to facilities that will be kept in good order and available to recreational fishers. The grant applicant or the local management agency will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facility. Funds will not be provided for the ongoing maintenance of a facility - e.g. repairs, cleaning, etc.

5. Consideration will be given to committing funds for projects staged over more than one year, however, no project will be funded at the outset for greater than three years, but applications for further funding can be made during the third year of such projects. No projects will be funded on an ongoing basis, and only 90% of grant funding will initially be allocated for a project; the remaining 10% of project funding will be allocated on the timely and satisfactory completion of the project. Note. The maximum amount of funding available per project under the Large Grants Program is $100,000 (GST exclusive) per year.

6. The grant applicant will be responsible for any expenditure/costs over the approved amount of grant funding.

Funding for project management activities

7. The department endorses the use of the National Standard Chart of Accounts (NSCOA) definitions and account codes by applicants when developing grant applications. Details of the project management costs can be collated into an account structure similar to Client Support Services in the NSCOA (changing the header to Project Management Costs). Project management is the discipline of planning, organising, securing and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives.

The department recognises that effective project management can make a significant contribution to the success of a project. Applicants may include reasonable project management costs as a project expense comprising the direct and some incidental costs related to the management of the project such as the cost of travel, accommodation and meals which are a direct result of delivery of a project. Whereas, costs such as entertainment, alcohol, office equipment, etc., and other costs that are not incurred as a direct result of delivering the project that are included as project management costs by the grant applicant are not allowed.

The Project Manager must maintain a record/s of the expenditure of project funds in relation to all such costs and grant recipients claiming project management costs are required to provide a financial statement detailing all the costs being claimed. Any accounting software used can assist in the presentation of the information related to project costs by use of a set of accounts or cost centres. It is important to note that project management fees are to cover external costs incurred during the delivery of the project, but not to subsidise existing internal costs. Applicants are not entitled to derive an income from the grant funds allocated to the project.

As an indication of reasonable project management costs for a project, the amount which may be claimed will be capped at ten percent of the total grant amount for 'infrastructure' type projects, and fifteen per cent for one-off events or extended programs; these costs will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Project Manager must maintain a record/s of the expenditure of project funds in relation to all such costs. It is important to note that the Recreational Fishing Grants Working Group may recommend a reduction or increase to the project management cost sought by an applicant for components outside of the true intention of the project.

Project management activities claimed as an expense cannot also be claimed as an in-kind contribution for the project. In-kind costs should be shown separately.

Please call The Secretariat, Recreational Fishing Grants Program, on (03) 8392 6872 during normal business hours or email: rec.fishinggrants@vfa.vic.gov.au for further information on project management.

Process and annual timetable

8. The department will publicise the commencement of the annual Fishing Grant Application process and timetable and provide information about the availability of the associated documentation. The commencement of the annual Fishing Grant Application process may change at any time.

Only proposals submitted in the prescribed format will be accepted.

9. The closing date for the receipt of grant applications for the 2015/16 round is 29 February 2016 however, the timetable for grant applications may change at any time. Advice of any change will be widely publicised.

10. All communications regarding a project proposal or related matter should be referred to:

The Secretariat, Recreational Fishing Grants Program
PO Box 4509, Melbourne VIC 3001.
Telephone: (03) 8392 6872 during normal business hours
Email: rec.fishinggrants@vfa.vic.gov.au

11. The receipt of grant applications will be acknowledged in writing by The Victorian Fisheries Authority.

12. All eligible grant applications will be assessed and prioritised by the Recreational Fishing Grants Working Group (refer Appendix A) who will make recommendations to the Minister.

13. Eligible grant applications will be referred to the Minister for funding consideration as soon as practicable.

14. Following the Minister's approval to disburse funds to eligible projects, the Secretariat, will inform grant applicants of the success or otherwise of their proposal. There is no right of appeal in respect to any decision made to fund or not fund any proposed project.

15. Successful grant applicants will be required to:

  • enter into a Project Funding Agreement;
  • submit a written project progress report on the Progress Report proforma to The Victorian Fisheries Authority as specified in the Project Funding Agreement;
  • submit a written report on the Project Final Report proforma and Grant Acquittal proforma within 60 days of completing the project;
  • notify us of any proposed variations or extensions to the project objectives, timetable, work plan or budget. The proponent will need to submit and have approved a Project Variation Application form; and
  • Operate public liability insurance as required, covering the project's activities and outcomes.

16. Funds would be allocated to successful projects as soon as possible following approval of the grant. Grant applicants must submit a Tax Invoice or Invoice, made out to the 'The Victorian Fisheries Authority' or 'VFA' for payment of the grant. Tax Invoices or Invoices (as applicable) should be forwarded to The Secretariat, Recreational Fishing Grants Program, PO Box 4509, Melbourne VIC 3001.

17. Any unspent RFL project funds must be returned no later than 60 days after the completion of the project. Cheques for such payments shall be made out to 'The Victorian Fisheries Authority' or 'VFA' and forwarded to The Secretariat, Recreational Fishing Grants Program, PO Box 4509, Melbourne VIC 3001.

18. The Victorian Fisheries Authority may inspect any project at any time to assess progress.

Goods and Services Tax

19. With the exception of any grant that qualifies as an 'appropriation' by way of payments made between 'government-related entities' for general funding arrangements or non-commercial transactions, grant payments made under this Program will be inclusive of GST and project costings should also be inclusive of the GST. Withholding Tax will apply where grant recipients are unable to provide an ABN and the supplier does not satisfy reason/s for their exemption from the tax as stated on the Australian Taxation Office's Statement by supplier – Reason for not quoting an Australian Business Number (ABN) to an enterprise.

20. Refer to Appendix A for the purchasing thresholds and design drawings and work permit requirements that apply to the grants program.

Previously funded projects

21. A list of previously funded projects is available.

Large Grant Program Objectives regarding projects

In all cases, the benefits of the project to recreational fishers must be clearly defined and supported. Projects, in the following categories, that implement the following objectives may be given priority for grant funding. Preference will be given to projects that benefit the fishing public – not applicant organisations.

Category 1 - Recreational fishing access and facilities (including improvements to recreational boating-related infrastructure, where a clear benefit to boat-based recreational fishing can be demonstrated).

Note: Projects must meet an identified demand and provide a direct benefit to recreational fishers. Grant applications seeking funds to construct a fishing platform/s must, where practicable, include the provision of a rod holding device/s in the project design. Sufficient supporting information or documentation to demonstrate that the proposed location/s of the new platform/s is necessary should also be included, noting that there may already be a location/s in the vicinity of the site of a proposed new platform/s that will provide anglers with a reasonable degree of fishing access.

Projects that could expect favourable consideration would include those that:

  • Provide easy, safe and efficient access to coastal and inland waters for recreational fishers;
  • Improve facilities in areas of high current or expected recreational fishing demand;
  • Provide facilities for users from an identified wide catchment area;
  • Provide all-weather facilities at selected sites;
  • Minimise maintenance costs; and
  • Include appropriate signage (for which funding is also available, as part of the project cost).

Projects that would not receive favourable consideration:

  • Provision of access for select groups only (other than those with special needs), or construction of facilities that are not open and freely accessible to the fishing public.
    Note: Enquiries about boating related infrastructure projects funded through the Boating Safety and Facilities Program should be directed to the Grants Administration Team on 1800 337 222 or via email at boating.grants@ecodev.vic.gov.au
  • RFL revenue will not be allocated to fund the purchase of any club equipment (e.g. fishing rods, fishing reels, IT equipment, audio visual equipment such as cameras, DVD players etc.).

Category 2 - Recreational fisheries sustainability and habitat improvement

Projects in this category must be designed with a clearly defined objective that will result in the maintenance or improvement of recreational fisher catches. Projects that assess recreational fisher catches for the above purposes or that assess the success of a project in this category would be eligible.

Projects that could expect favourable consideration would include:

  • Fish habitat improvement programs for recreational fish species; and
  • Assessment of recreational fisher catches and use patterns.

Projects that would not receive favourable consideration, or would be considered a low priority include:

  • Assessments that do not identify a clear end-benefit for recreational fishers.

Category 3 – Recreational fisheries related education, information and training
Projects should be designed to improve the practices, procedures and experiences of recreational fishers, and to preserve the rich heritage of this recreational pursuit.

Projects that could expect favourable consideration would include:

  • Development of educational programs designed to promote recreational fishing and good recreational fishing codes of practice;
  • Development of displays to promote recreational fishing and/or educate the public on recreational fishing;
  • Running of specific-purpose events, field days or training programs (which may include the participation of Fishcare Victoria) on recreational fishing;
  • Preservation of angling history in various forms; or
  • Assessment of new techniques for fishing and transfer of information to recreational fishers.

Projects that would not receive favourable consideration, or would be considered a low priority include:

  • Projects that have a very narrow focus;
  • Materials developed for a primarily commercial purpose; and/or
  • Recreational fishing competition prizes.

Category 4 – Recreational fisheries research
Projects considered for inclusion in the research category must be designed to provide practical knowledge to enable better management of recreational target fish species in Victorian waters. Projects will be typically funded for one to three years. Research projects will be expected to have fisheries research professionals or principal investigators, although such professionals can be engaged by project proponents to conduct research activities on their behalf.
It is strongly recommended that prospective grant applicants contact The Victorian Fisheries Authority (via the Customer Service Centre telephone no. 136 186), to determine if any prior research/work has been conducted in your area of research interest, as this may avoid possible duplication/unnecessary effort.

Projects that could expect favourable consideration would include:

  • Research on biology and habitat use of recreational fish species;
  • Research on response to, and impacts of fishing on recreational fish species;
  • Evaluation of the success of fish habitat improvement programs;
  • Evaluation of specific recreational fish stocking programs;
  • Investigations of the impacts of environmental factors on recreational fisheries; and/or
  • Research on the social and economic impacts of recreational fisheries.

Projects that would not receive favourable consideration, or would be considered a low priority include:

  • Research on fish species not targeted by Victorian recreational fishers;
  • Research on threatened fish species protected by legislation from recreational fishing;
  • Commonwealth-managed fisheries;
  • Aquatic habitat works that do not directly affect a recreational fishery; and/or
  • Research programs that cannot define a benefit to recreational fishers.

Prior to final commitment of funds, the grant applicant will be required to:

  • Obtain all the relevant planning and development approvals which must have regard to strategies and environmental acceptability;
  • Provide suitable information as requested to allow the proposed project to be assessed and establish a priority, based on local, regional and state-wide needs and benefits;
  • Demonstrate the technical adequacy of the project in terms of design, safety standards and cost;
  • Demonstrate an ability to be able to operate and maintain the facility and to make a commitment to a future high standard of operation and maintenance;
  • Be prepared to participate in on-site inspections of the project before, during and after the construction of a facility, as necessary; and,
  • Enter into a formal funding agreement with the Department of Primary Industries.

Funds will be allocated to projects progressively in line with the project's requirements to be specified in the COST table contained in the Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Account Large Grants Program Application Form.

Further information

The Secretariat, Recreational Fishing Grants Program
Phone: (03) 8392 6872 (during normal business hours)
E-mail: rec.fishinggrants@vfa.vic.gov.au
Website: www.vic.gov.au/fishing/fishinggrants.
VFA Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

Appendix A

Each grant application is assessed and prioritised by the Recreational Fishing Grants Working Group whose role is to provide advice to the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security on the expenditure of all Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Account revenue.

Working Group membership comprises eight persons (plus an independent Chair) who collectively can provide a range of knowledge, experience and views from across the State covering:

  • Coastal, estuarine, freshwater native fish and salmonid recreational fisheries; and
  • Port Phillip Bay, South West, North West, North East, East Gippsland and West Gippsland regions.
  • It also contains one person nominated by VRFish to provide advice that reflects the views of the organisations affiliated with VRFish and the VRFish Board; and
  • One person involved in the recreational fishing industry to provide advice that reflects the views of recreational fishers as identified by persons involved in the Victorian recreational fishing business sector.

Purchasing thresholds for proposals

The following purchasing thresholds and design drawings, specifications and work permits requirements (as applicable) apply to proposals under the Recreational Fishing Grants Program where the grant applicant will be purchasing goods and/or services to conduct the project.

Purchasing threshold for proposals:

Requirement

Valued from $5,000 to $25,000

A minimum of one written quote and design drawings, specifications and work permits as applicable.

Valued from $25,000 to $100,000

A minimum of three written quotes and design drawings, specifications and work permits as applicable.