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PIRSA Cost Recovery From Fisheries Industry

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will initiate an independent review of PIRSA’s fisheries cost recovery policy.

The Problem

South Australia has a large and diverse fisheries industry.

It directly employs more than 6,000 people and is a major exporter.

It supports many regional and rural communities.

The industry is regulated by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA).

While PIRSA applies a cost recovery model, the industry believes it is subsidising a disproportionate amount of PIRSA’s overheads in addition to the actual costs of regulation and service provision.

For example, the abalone sector surveyed its members in 2015/16 and found a significant discrepancy between the services the sector believes it is receiving from PIRSA, and what PIRSA is charging for, as illustrated in the table below.

Regulation/Service Industry Contact Time PIRSA time charged
Licence renewal of inquiries
Quota transfers/enquiries
Any other PIRSA contact
7.5 hours 134.54 days
Education 2.4 hours 100 days
• At sea
• At landing
• On route to factory
• At factory
• Post factory
50.4 hours 400 days
Deterrence Unknown but not challenged by industry 77 days

Twelve percent of the South Australian abalone sector’s gross value of production (GVP) is attributed to PIRSA cost recovery.

In Western Australia, regulatory and service cost recovery is capped at 5.75% of GVP.

Thirteen South Australian fisheries pay fees to PIRSA based on the cost recovery model. The average annual cost paid per licence holder is shown in the table below:

Fishery Average annual cost paid per license holder
Abalone Fishery - Central Zone $77,892.83
Abalone Fishery - Southern Zone $71,916.83
Abalone Fishery - Western Zone $66,418.72
Blue Crab Fishery $35,281.11
Charter Boat Fishery $2,983.84
Lakes and Coorong Fishery $14,647.38
Miscellaneous Fishery - Giant Crab Fishery $6,792.94
Prawn Fishery - Gulf St Vincent $24,932.10
Prawn Fishery - Spencer Gulf and West Coast $24,908.97
Rock Lobster Fishery - Northern Zone $24,931.58
Rock Lobster Fishery - Southern Zone $18,027.14
Sardine Fishery $740,110 (total for fishery)

Consultation with the fisheries industry has revealed frustration with PIRSA’s approach to cost recovery. However the department seems unresponsive to these industry concerns.

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will initiate an independent review of PIRSA’s fisheries cost recovery policy.

The review will take into account the recommendation of the Productivity Commission in 2016 following its report on Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The Commission recommended: ‘The State and Northern Territory Governments should implement best practice cost recovery arrangements for the commercial fisheries sector. Cost recovery charges should be linked as closely as possible to the efficiently incurred costs of essential regulatory services. All governments should transparently disclose the services or regulatory activities for which costs are recovered, and the amount and extent of costs recovered.’

Part of our plan for SA