Revenue Spent in 2001-02
The Government's partnership with recreational fishers continues to flourish to the mutual benefit of the fishers themselves and our environment. The government is committed to improving the productivity and sustainability of Victoria's recreational fisheries for current and future generations.
The government is also committed to:
- ensuring recreational fishers are told what their licence fees are spent on, and are given a say in determining that expenditure; and,
- producing local, area-based management plans under a more coordinated approach to fisheries management
In the 2001/02 financial year, revenue from the sale of Recreational Fishing Licences was disbursed to 33 Recreational Fishing Grant Program (RFGP) projects designed to improve Victoria's recreational fishing. Over $537,000 dollars was disbursed to projects to construct new fishing platforms and boardwalks, information signs, improve fish habitat, undertake recreational fisheries research, and for fish stocking programs. I also made a commitment to disburse an additional $127,000 to projects that extend into the 2003/04 financial year, and provision has now been made to fund these projects this financial year from revenue derived in 2001/02.
In September 2002, I announced the funding of 12 new RFGP projects, and extra funding for one existing project, totalling in excess of $169,000. Total RFL revenue disbursed or committed to 45 RFGP projects in 2002 exceeds $833,000.
It is expected that significantly more funding will become available in 2002/03 for disbursement to RFGP projects, following completion of repayments for buy-outs of commercial fishing licences.
Recreational Fishing Licence (RFL) Trust Account funds will become available to fund projects that improve recreational fishing in the following four project categories-
- Recreational fisheries' sustainability and habitat improvement (including fish stocking);
- Recreational fishing access and facilities;
- Recreational fisheries related education, information and training; and,
- Recreational fisheries research.
Nothwitstanding the disbursement of Trust Account funds to Recreational Fishing Grant Program projects, Trust Account revenues have also been disbursed, or committed, to fund-
- the buy-out of all remaining Inland Fishery Access Licences (IFALs)
- the recreational fishers' peak body – VRFish
- native fish stocking in the Wimmera and Central Highlands, when adequate water levels are achieved, and the stocking of some the inland waters where commercial fishing has now ceased as a result of the buy-out of IFALs.
- the ongoing operations of 10 Recreational Fishing Officers (see pages 5 to 7 for information concerning the RFOs' Outputs for 2001/02)
- the repayment of $4,000,000 to State Treasury for a previous Advance Appropriation to fund the buy-out of 108 of 208 bays and inlets commercial fishery access licences. This year will also see the final repayment of $500,000 (by June 30, 2003)
This is the second report to each House of Parliament on the revenue and disbursements from the RFL Trust Account.
The coming years will see continued collaboration between key stakeholder groups and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to increase recreational fishing opportunities, while ensuring sustainable utilisation of the resource.