Legislative Council: Thursday, March 23, 2023


Seafood Industry

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO (15:17): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development regarding cost recovery.

Leave granted.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: In March 2022, the South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development announced the government's election commitment to undertake an independent cost-recovery review of the current seafood sector cost-recovery policy and model to ensure its sustainability and appropriateness.

In order to address the election commitment, the minister has established an independent cost-recovery review panel to review PIRSA's current cost-recovery arrangement. As part of the terms of reference, it is stated that the panel will report directly to the minister and that a draft report of the panel is to be completed by 30 April 2023. My question to the minister is: will she commit to publicly releasing the independent cost-recovery panel's draft report to the industry and to the South Australian public?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:19): I thank the honourable member for her question. It is certainly correct that in March last year we made a commitment to undertake an independent review of cost recovery in the seafood sectors to ensure that the cost-recovery policy is both sustainable and appropriate.

For members' reference, PIRSA has been operating a cost-recovery policy for the seafood sector for approximately 20 years. It operates on the premise that South Australia's aquatic resources are owned by the state and managed by PIRSA on behalf of the South Australian community. Costs associated with government services that arise as a result of commercial access to the resources are recovered from commercial licence holders through regulated licence fees.

To address the election commitment of 2022, an Independent Cost Recovery Review Panel has been established. They have clear terms of reference, which are available on the PIRSA website, to review PIRSA's current cost-recovery arrangements. The panel comprises of members with expertise in fisheries, economics, management and commercial business practices.

The Independent Cost Recovery Review Panel will consider alternative cost-recovery approaches that are fair and equitable and assess these against current arrangements. In undertaking the review, submissions will be invited from the commercial fishing and aquaculture sectors, other interested stakeholders and PIRSA and other relevant government agencies. I am aware that the panel met here in Adelaide recently with members of the industry.

It is proposed that recommendations will be developed and they will be considered later this year. I have mentioned before in this place that the recommendations from the panel will not be available for the 2023-24 cost-recovery cycle. As part of this, I am very pleased that the panel has been able to meet here. In terms of the draft report, often it is more appropriate to release a final report with final recommendations. Once I have received the draft report, I will be able to make an informed decision on that matter.