Revenue Spent in 2004-05
The Government continues to foster its strong partnership with recreational fishers by supporting both the fishers themselves and improving fishing environments. Ensuring the productivity and sustainability of recreational fisheries remain key issues for the Government as well as providing ongoing opportunities for recreational anglers of all ages and abilities throughout Victoria.
The Government is also committed to ensuring recreational fishers are informed about what their licence fees are spent on, and are given a say in determining that expenditure.
In the 2004/05 financial year more than $1 million of revenue derived from the sale of Recreational Fishing Licences (RFLs) was approved for disbursement to 39 new Recreational Fishing Grant Program (RFGP) projects throughout the State. An additional $300,000 was allocated to fund the next stages of previously approved projects to improve Victoria's recreational fishing.
The disbursements will fund the construction of new fishing platforms and fish cleaning facilities, improve fish habitat and enhance fish stocking, develop and deliver recreational fisheries-related education, information and training programs, and recreational fisheries research projects.
Recreational Fishing Licence (RFL) Trust Account funds will continue to become available through the annual Recreational Fishing Grant Program 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 research; and
- Recreational fisheries related education, information and training.
During 2004/05, RFL Trust Account revenues have also been disbursed to fund major items including:
- The buy-out of Commercial Fishery Access Licences at Lake Tyers and Mallacoota Inlet, to make those areas recreational-only fishing zones;
- The ongoing operations of 10 regionally-based Recreational Fisheries Officers ;
- Costs and expenses incurred in the administration of the RFL, the RFGP, and the Fisheries Revenue Allocation Committee;
- Recreational Fishing Licence sales commissions; and
- Funding for the Victorian Recreational Fishing peak body (VRFish).
During 2004/05, 245,231 RFLs were sold through approximately 900 retail outlets and on-line through DPI.s website, with the sale of the licences generating revenue of more than $4.5 million. This was an increase of 6,000 licence sales and $300,000 in revenue on the previous year.
This increase in revenue has allowed provision to be made to fund any emerging recreational fishing issues and aspects of the planned voluntary buy-back of bays and inlets commercial fishing licences announced by the Premier Steve Bracks in May 2005.
This is the fifth 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 (former) Department of Primary Industries to increase recreational fishing opportunities, while ensuring sustainable use of the resource.