Transparency for fisheries cost recovery

Wildcatch fisheries will be able to see where the money collected from licence fees is going thanks to recommendations made in an independent report of PIRSA’s Cost Recovery Policy.

The government initiated a report, conducted by audit firm KPMG, to look into Primary Industries and Regions SA’s cost recovery policy after the fishing industry raised concerns about being unfairly charged for services.

Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone said the government had decided to accept all 11 recommendations made in the report.

“The recommendations related to transparency of the time, costing, reporting and negotiation processes of the cost recovery program and the development of an easy to follow costing framework,” he said.

The recommendations included the need for consistency in all fisheries and aquaculture cost recovery programs, providing stakeholders with a simplified description of the whole cost recovery process, and ensuring regular review cycles.

A government response sets out how each recommendation will be addressed and a deadline to achieve them.

Thirteen fisheries in the state pay fees to PIRSA based on the cost recovery model with the annual cost paid per licence holder varying between the different sectors.

Abalone Industry Association of South Australia president Jonas Woolford said the recommendations were welcomed as there were concerns about knowing what the money recovered through licensing fees was being used for.

“We’ll then know exactly what the money is being used for that’s recovered through licence fees,” he said.

“We definitely look forward to working with PIRSA in implementing these recommendations.”

Mr Woolford said Mr Whetstone and the government deserved credit for following through with the review and recommendations.

Wildcatch Fisheries SA has also praised the government for releasing KPMG’s report and its response.

The organisation’s executive officer Franca Romeo said cooperation was important moving forward.

“Managing South Australia’s amazing seafood resource is a shared responsibility and as such we too look forward to working with PIRSA, the minister and other stakeholders to action these recommendations,” she said.