As provided in the Fisheries Administration Act 1991, AFMA was established to manage Commonwealth fisheries. AFMA is a body corporate which can sue and be sued, however AFMA cannot hold money and all financial liabilities are taken to be liabilities of the Commonwealth.

AFMA’s domestic fisheries management functions and powers are the responsibility
of the Commission. The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for assisting the Commission, including giving effect to its decisions.

The Chief Executive Officer is separately responsible for exercising AFMA’s foreign compliance functions and powers, and the Chief Executive’s responsibilities under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and Public Service Act 1999. The Chief Executive Officer and staff constitute a Statutory Agency under the Public Service Act 1999.

The Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry appoints the Chairman, part-time Commissioners and the Chief Executive Officer. Following advice from the Chairman, the Minister appoints a part-time Commissioner as Deputy-Chairperson.

The AFMA Commission: (Front row) Richard Stevens OAM (Deputy- Chair), The Hon Michael Egan FAICD (Chairman),

The AFMA Commission: (Front row) Richard Stevens OAM (Deputy- Chair), The Hon Michael Egan FAICD (Chairman),
Dr James Findlay (Chief Executive Officer)
(Back row) Ryan Murphy (Executive Secretary), Elizabeth Montano, Dr John Glaister, Denise North FAICD,
Prof Keith Sainsbury, Jenny Goddard, Ian Cartwright

The Commission is subject to limited government policy direction as stated in the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 s91. The Minister is the approving authority for AFMA’s corporate plan, annual operational plan and all fishery management plans determined by AFMA.

The Chief Executive Officer is subject to Ministerial direction with regard to AFMA’s foreign compliance functions, and under the Public Service Act 1999 is required to be responsive to Government in implementing the Government’s policies and programs.

The current AFMA Commissioners were appointed by the Minister on 1 March 2009, for five-year terms.
These Commissioners are: the Hon Michael Egan (Chairman), Prof Glenn Hurry (Chief Executive Officer 1 March- 24 September 2010), Dr James Findlay (Chief Executive Officer from 27 September), Ian Cartwright, Dr John Glaister, Jenny Goddard, Elizabeth Montano, Denise North, Prof Keith Sainsbury and Richard Stevens (Deputy Chair).

In September 2010 Prof Glenn Hurry resigned as Chief Executive Officer. The Minister appointed Dr James Findlay as acting Chief Executive Officer, from 27 September 2010. Dr Findlay was subsequently appointed Chief Executive Officer by the Minister for a five-year term from 30 March 2011.

For more information about AFMA’s Commissioners and senior management committees, see Appendix 3 on page 163.

Conflicts of interest

Commissioners must disclose to the Minister any pecuniary or other interest that may relate to their AFMA functions, both prior to appointment and whenever such interests arise during their terms of office. Disclosures of interests are kept on a register of interests held by the Commission, and a Commissioner must not take part in any deliberation or decision in which he/she has such an interest.

Performance review

The Commission reviews its performance in July-August each year. Issues reviewed may include its success in pursuing AFMA’s objectives; strategic direction; committee effectiveness; procedural matters including meeting frequency and detail, conduct of meetings, protocol and clarity of roles; and individual performance including attendance, contribution and knowledge of briefs. The Commission also holds a public meeting annually in different port areas.


Risk Management

The current risk management framework and risk register were reviewed in February 2011. Since initial implementation in 2008, AFMA’s risk management has achieved demonstrable maturity through its well defined and clearly understood processes and is now an integral part of agency planning. Newly identified risks and changes to known risks are communicated through the Risk Management Committee for inclusion in the register, while treatments and ratings are ratified by the Executive as part of the twice-yearly review. All managers also have a responsibility to identify and treat risks as soon as they become apparent.

The risk register is reviewed by the Audit and Risk Committee and the AFMA Commission have a standing agenda item for its meetings to consider any risks that may affect AFMA.

Business Continuity

The AFMA Business Continuity Management Plan identifies essential business activities and timeframes for implementing alternate processing arrangements in the event of incidents that disrupt service delivery. The management plan allows the priority allocation of resources to critical business processes to ensure that AFMA continues to provide services in the event of a disaster.

The management plan was implemented in May 2010 and tested in November 2010. We will conduct further testing and review in November 2011.

Fraud Control

During 2010–11 AFMA detected and investigated 101 external fraud related matters primarily associated with breaches of the domestic quota management arrangements and unauthorised fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone.   In addition AFMA carried over a further 12 fraud related matters from the previous year.  Of the 113 fraud matters investigated AFMA finalised 99 as a result of instituting either administrative or prosecution action.  Fourteen matters are still in the process of being finalised.

There were no reported external fraud issues associated with AFMA contractors or internal fraud matters detected during the 2010–11.

In accordance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines AFMA produced the Fraud Control Plan 2010-2012 in February 2010. This plan incorporates information relating to AFMA’s approach to fraud control, the updated fraud risk assessment and strategies for fraud minimisation arising from the risk treatment recommendations.

AFMA will review the plan in February 2012.

Audit and Risk Committee

The Audit and Risk Committee was established under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 by the Chief Executive Officer. The purpose of the Committee is to provide independent assurance and assistance to the Chief Executive Officer and the Commission (where relevant) on AFMA’s risk, control and compliance framework, and its external accountability responsibilities.  

For further information on the Audit and Risk Committee see page 166–167.


During 2008-09, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) carried out an audit of AFMA’s management of domestic fishing compliance. The final report was tabled in Parliament on 25 June 2009. AFMA has completed action on the major recommendations from the report and incorporated suggested actions into standard procedures as appropriate.

AFMA was not involved in any other ANAO performance audits during

There were no reports by the Attorney General, Parliamentary Committee or Commonwealth Ombudsman in relation to AFMA.

In relation to external scrutiny involving judicial tribunals and decisions of administrative tribunals please refer to Appendix 1: Civil litigation outcomes on page 156.



Purchasing is conducted by each branch in accordance with our Chief Executive Instructions on procurement, having specific regard for the AFMA Procurement Guidelines which complement the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines.

The AFMA Procurement Guidelines set out two major thresholds:

  • Major procurements over $80 000 in value must be undertaken through a request for tender unless there is a specific exemption
  • Procurements under $80 000 must be undertaken in accordance with the minimum quotation and documentation rules set out in the guidelines as they apply to the value and risk of a proposed procurement.

In some cases, major procurements were undertaken through panel arrangements established by other agencies where the contractual provisions allowed. Major procurements undertaken during the year included calls for research proposals, illegal foreign fishing.

Asset management

AFMA manages its assets in accordance with the relevant FMA requirements, accounting standards and Chief Executive Instructions. Departmental assets of $22.8m include cash, receivables, land, buildings, property plant and equipment, intangibles and other assets. Administered assets of $1.2m include vessel disposal facilities
and receivables.

An asset register is maintained in our Financial Management Information System for all software and equipment valued at more than $3 000, or where the equipment is of material balance as a group (for example, computer equipment).


During the financial year, we entered into contracts with a range of suppliers for the provision of goods and services. These contracts are reported in accordance with government policy:

  • all contracts over $5 000 are listed on our internal contracts register
  • all contracts over $10 000 are reported on the Austender website, and
  • all contracts over $100 000 are listed on our website twice a year

During the year, we entered into 28 consultancy contracts valued at $3.3m where specialised or professional skills were not available internally or where we identified a need for independent research or assessment. Details of these are shown at Appendix 8.

See page 182–184 for more information on consultancy contracts.

Advertising and market research

During the financial year we spent $0.086m on advertising. Most of this expenditure related to recruitment, fishery notices and media monitoring. There were no payments made over
$11 200.

Discretionary grants

No discretionary grants were administered during 2010–11.


AFMA’s planning and reporting framework consists of obligations under the Fisheries Administration Act 1991, whole-of-government requirements, and internal documents produce for the purpose of good governance. The key elements are:

Corporate Plan

AFMA is required under the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 to submit its corporate plan to the Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry for consideration and approval.

This plan identifies factors in AFMA’s operating environment that may affect AFMA’s operations, and sets out AFMA’s principal goals for the next three, four or five years. The plan also outlines the strategies AFMA will use to pursue those goals and key performance indicators for measuring our performance. We have reported against the key performance indicators identified in our Corporate Plan 2010–14 on pages 39–40.

Annual Operational Plan

The annual operational plan covers 12 months and gives detail to the strategies identified in the relevant corporate plan. A report against the intended actions and services and deliverables as described in our Annual Operational Plan 2010–11 can be found on pages 35–38.

Portfolio Budget Statements

AFMA contributes to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Portfolio Statements. The purpose of the Portfolio Budget Statements is to inform Senators and Members of Parliament of the proposed allocation of resources to government outcomes. Within this document, AFMA sets out its broad strategic direction, budget estimates against specific outputs, and key performance indicators.

Internal reporting

The Chief Executive Officer and Commission receive quarterly reports against the key result areas, strategies and key performance indicators identified in our corporate and annual operational plans. This ensures that progress is on track, and simplifies the process of annual reporting.

AFMA won the Gold award for the 2009-10 Annual Report at the IPAA awards.

AFMA won the Gold award for the 2009-10 Annual Report at the IPAA awards. L-R: Andrew Metcalfe, President of IPAA ACT Division; Sophie Dening and John Bridge, AFMA; Terry Moran, Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Annual Report

The annual report provides information on AFMA’s operations and performance, including reporting against the measures set out in the corporate plan, annual operational plan and portfolio budget statements.