Report to Parliament - foreword
- on the disbursement of Recreational Fishing Licence Revenue from the Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Account, 2008-2009
The Government is committed to continued collaboration between key stakeholder groups and the department to increase the number and quality of recreational fishing opportunities for Victorians.
The 2006 election saw the Government commit to reviewing fisheries consultative arrangements that had been in place for more than 10 years. This included a review of the Fisheries Revenue Allocation Committee, with the aim of ensuring recreational fishers are broadly represented and have a strong say in how recreational fishing licence funds are spent.
The review has resulted in improvements to Victoria's consultative framework for fisheries resources, which is now more effective and efficient in fisheries stakeholder engagement, as well as meeting the high expectations of fisheries stakeholders and Government. A new performance-based consultative framework has been introduced and the Fisheries Revenue Allocation Committee has been wound up, effective 1 July 2009.
Following the completion of an open expression of interest process, a new Recreational Fishing Grants Working Group will be established to provide advice to Government on how all recreational fishing licence funds should be spent. The group will also provide advice on the operation of a new Recreational Fishing Grants Program and assess proposals received under the 2008/09 round of the Grants Program using the existing criteria.
The new eight-member Working Group will include anglers from across the State who have knowledge of the marine and inland recreational fisheries, and understand the needs of recreational fishers.
During 2008/09, recreational Fishing Licence Trust Account funds were also committed or disbursed to fund a variety of activities, including:
- Approved projects under previous rounds of the Recreational Fishing Grants Program and rounds 4 and 5 of the Federal Government Recreational Fishing Community Grants Program;
- Funding for the Victorian Fishcare program and VRFish.
- The $2 million final repayment of a $4 million Government loan to fund the voluntary buy-out of Bay and Inlet Commercial Fishery Access Licences (completed in 2005);
- Salaries and operating expenses of some The Victorian Fisheries Authority's Field Services staff;
- Recreational Fishing Licence sales commissions; and
- Costs and expenses incurred in the administration of the Recreational Fishing Licence, the Recreational Fishing Grants Program, and the Fisheries Revenue Allocation Committee.
I have pleasure in providing to each House of Parliament this report on the receipts and disbursements from the Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Account for 2008/09.
Joe Helper MP
Minister for Agriculture
27 October 2009