Funding for fishing groups

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Matt Flynn
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Funding for fishing groups

Post by Matt Flynn » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:49 pm

NT Govt Press Release

Three Territory not-for-profit fishing organisations have received funding to hold community fishing events through the Territory Labor Government’s new Recreational Fishing Grants Scheme.

The Scheme was introduced earlier this year as part of the Territory Labor Government’s $50 million investment in recreational fishing to boost the sector, create jobs and cement the Territory’s reputation as a world-class fishing destination

The Amateur Fishermen’s Association NT (AFANT) received funding to hold Gone Fishing Day at Darwin Waterfront, the Darwin Game Fishing Club received funds to run a Junior Fun Day and Clinic, and the Palmerston Game Fishing Club received a grant to hold a Junior Angler Clinic and Buddy Boats Day.

Recreational Fishing Grants be used for a range of projects, including fish habitat restoration and the installation of amenities such as fishing shelters, fish cleaning facilities and fishing platforms.

Eligible organisations applied for small grants up to $15,000, or large grants up to $100,000. Applications were assessed by a committee that included representatives from the Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee, which advises the NT Government on how best to invest the $50 million, Fisheries NT and others.

Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Ken Vowles said: “The Territory Labor Government’s historic $50 million investment in recreational fishing will boost the sector and the industries that support it, which will create jobs for Territorians.

“The Recreational Fishing Grants Scheme is promoting the sector through a range of initiatives such as these community events held by Territory fishing organisations.

“Getting the next generation hooked on fishing can help grow the sector, and if we can grow the sector, we will create jobs.

“Projects carried out through Recreational Fishing Grants will help make recreational fishing in the Territory even better, and encourage more and more people to get involved.”

AFANT executive officer David Ciaravolo said: “AFANT is thrilled the NT Government and Darwin Waterfront supported our Gone Fishing Day celebrations.

“Gone Fishing Day is the national day to celebrate all the health, lifestyle and economic benefits of recreational fishing.”



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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by ronje » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:38 pm

Seems a bit illogical to be pouring such large amounts of money into a sector when access to fishing areas is being closed more and more.

If however, the money is designed to encourage growth of organised competitions and other events, then that's a way to direct recreational fishing into taking place in areas set aside for those types of activities (competitions and other like events). THOSE areas will be available for access but access closure to the rest keeps marching on. What happens to people who don't want to take part in organised events? Nothing much seems destined to change there.

A lot of money.

Maybe?
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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by bigwoody » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:39 am

It could be a fine example of manipulation by Government.

Provide a bucket of money to be spent on recreational fishing, only allow the spending to be used by a sector of stakeholders to fund “feel good programmes that also provide positive publicity for government.

The stokehold sector (clubs) are seen by government as a conduit for good news publicity. The clubs are focused on running financially viable associations that provide club rooms, other infrastructure and paid office bearers as well as subsidised functions including profit positive competitions.

There appears to be no focus on enabling or establishing access to any further waterways for recreational use, what we have now is all we will ever have.

Participation has and is increasing, much of the available access is at times overcrowded with boats, particularly when the clubs conduct their business under the guise of “community involvement competitions” those fisho’s who don’t want to “compete” (the majority) do not enjoy the same support from government, they don’t generate positive photo opportunities for politicians.

Keep in mind that the “peak” representative organisation for rec fishing in the NT is totally funded by government, membership fees to this club wouldn’t pay for a decent BBQ.
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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by Matt Flynn » Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:05 pm

My secondhand info is that there is quite a lot of work going into access behind the scenes. Wouldn't get too grim about it yet.

Even if you only had Darwin Harbour you would be better off for fishing quality than half of Australia! :D

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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by ronje » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:11 am

Word is that tourism is dropping and this is NT govt's way of attracting/holding more of the fishing tourism sector.

Not funding the prizes but funding the not-for-profit competitions themselves while the organisers search out sponsors.

MDF, Barra Nationals and other Barra comp (can't remember name of it) have been enormous successes and NT Govt seems to be attempting to flog that success for all its worth. Maybe having a organised comp or two to take part in makes the closing of access more palatable for locals.

Has AFANT surfaced with a view?

Hard to see locals happy with accepting reduced access in return for organised events. Not the NT way of life.
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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by ronje » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:10 pm

Had a look back through the history of this. Its a beat-up about funding.

$50 million over 5 years = $10 million per year.

$10 million per year includes maintenance/repairs/enhancements to existing infrastructure.

Grants of $10,000 to $100,000 are meaningless if the events are as claimed. Basically feel-good events.

This smells very much like the old RecFish Australia attempts to gain funding for itself. AFANT already does that with NT Govt grants and doesn't need members or their opinions about things. Have a look at the annual Govt grant to AFANT which already includes money for events and worthy projects.

Its also interesting to remember the failed national RecFish structure and funding via levies on rec fishing gear Australia wide came from the NT's AFANT.

All a bit of a mess.

The reality is that nothing much has changed.
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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by theodosius » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:29 pm

I for one am glad we have an advisory body that is well-funded. We'd be in a much weaker position without AFANT

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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by ronje » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:35 am

Cant agree with you on that, Theodosius.

Couldn't think of any weaker position to be in than have a representative body tied to Govt via a funding leash.

And that was the basic model (NT AFANT) that was held up to the Federal Govt as the model for rec fishing representation Australia wide. RecFish was being managed by ex-AFANT people. It was funded by the Fed Govt for 2 years with the condition that RecFish then arranged its own funding.

It all came tumbling down in 2007 when RecFish proposed (in an election year), that the Fed Govt announce a new tax (a national levy on sales of fishing and boating eqpt) to fund RecFish. Fed Minister Abetz soon put a stop to that when hit by the backlash and RecFish collapsed.

NT has a well funded but docile rec fishing body with very few members.

Where did the current NT's Minister for Fisheries adviser come from?
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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by tristan.sloan » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:34 am

Being a proud AFANT member and a previous CEO of the organization I have to agree with you Theodosius. Recreational fishing is far better off in the NT with a strong representative body. Just look at the shambles that QLD and NSW is in without a voice for recreational anglers.

$50M for recreational fishing is the biggest investment by any government towards recreational fishing in Australia. Especially when you take into account the small population of the NT it becomes even more significant.

And in regards to AFANTs funding the organization has always been prepared to suffer funding cuts from government if it means standing up for the rights of recreational fishermen. During my time as CEO we suffered two significant funding cuts under the previous government. Luckily this government recognizes the valuable role the organization plays and funds it appropriately.

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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by Matt Flynn » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:50 pm

Think you are being harsh Ron, AFANT has done some great work. People don't join these lobby organisations in sufficient numbers, so govt funding helps.

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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by ronje » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:40 pm

Hello Matt/Tristan.

I don't think I'm being harsh on AFANT at all. The opposite in fact.

My views about AFANT's performance are pretty well known and there was significant discussion a couple of years ago to that effect. Some acrimonious. If you look you'll find it. I don't want to go over that again.

I became aware of the AFANT model that supporters were attempting to thrust upon rec fishing in Aus in 2005. As you know, that resulted in very public failure in 2007 and rightly so.

My subsequent dealings with AFANT resulted in becoming a member because of time spent in the NT on fishing visits to both the Daly and Roper. I also had dealings with AFANT in the installation of the Darwin VHF marine repeater. None of the dealings with the AFANT CEO at the time impressed me.

Any organisation that is funded by the Govt dances to the Govt's tune. That's the reality of life.

Rec fishermen don't support it and as a result it has very few members although it claims to represent rec fishing interests in the NT. The funding is the critical issue. The funding mechanism allows NT Fisheries to use it as a conduit for channeling money and for its own political purposes.

There are lots of things AFANT could have done (some people thought they were) to lessen public cynicism but didn't.
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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by ronje » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:46 pm

You still with the Minister for Fisheries, Tristan?
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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by bigwoody » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:54 pm

Looking back it seems that the most significant achievements and progress made by rec fisho’s like pro barra licence buy backs and bag and size limits for a number of species were made before Government funding for clubs and office bearers.

When a funded and organised afant tried to flex its muscles or became critical, the Government quickly diluted their influence by forming a ministerial advisory committee with afant as a member with a single vote along with a bunch of other people from all over the NT.
The minister wasn’t that keen on sitting around a table being subjected to questions from a group of fisho’s with a dozen different agendas or favorite projects. Not to mention political bias, from both sides of the political spectrum.
This arrangement was disbanded and a new advisory committee that the minister didn’t have direct contact with was formed. The influence of afant was still diluted, and the committee comprised of a collection handpicked people purportedly representing all NT fisho’s.
This committee is charged with allocating the spending of the 50 mill, trouble is they can’t agree on what to spend it on. It seems that individual favorite projects in the main are not practical or viable.
The suggestion of spending the money on new access has become low priority; it appears that huge sums will be spent on artificial reefs.
These of course are very good photo opportunities for the pollies and on face value look like progress. Bad luck if you don't own a boat big enough to safely go offshore where these reefs will be.

Never underestimate the shrewdness of senior bureaucrats entrenched within the public service.
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Re: Funding for fishing groups

Post by theodosius » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:19 pm

You fellas think there are enough engaged, organised and committed fishos up here to self-fund and run an advocacy group, let alone magically be able to come to a consensus on all issues and present a united front during delicate and long negotiations??

Doubt it...


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