AFMA Levy Arrangements Guide for 2015-16 (PDF, 464 KB)

Figures

Tables

Management and Research Levy arrangements for 2015-16

This guide provides answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding annual levy charges and the terms surrounding payment of levies.  It also contains some background information on the cost recovered budget and how each fishery has been affected by rate changes for the 2015-16 financial year.

What is the levy for?

Levy is charged to Commonwealth concession owners to cover the annual costs associated with managing Commonwealth fisheries. Commonwealth concession owners are required to contribute to the cost of managing the fishery in which they own a fishing concession.

The main components that impact cost recovered fishery budgets are shown in the graph below.

Figure 1 Composition of the cost recovered budget

image002

Does the government contribute to the cost of managing Commonwealth fisheries?

The Australian Government does contribute to the cost of managing Commonwealth fisheries.  The amount the government contributes is based on AFMA’s Cost Recovery Impact Statement (CRIS) which was prepared in accordance with the Australian Government’s Cost Recovery Policy.

AFMA’s CRIS sets what percentage of fisheries management costs the Government pays for and what percentage is recovered from concession owners.

For more detailed information a copy of AFMA’s CRIS is available on the AFMA website (www.afma.gov.au).

What period of time does my levy relate to?

Your levy covers the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

When will I receive a levy invoice and when is payment due?

If you are the owner of a leviable Commonwealth fishing concession you will be issued three invoices throughout the first five months of 2016.  Each invoice will be for approximately one third of your total annual levy.  The table below sets out when levy invoices will be issued and when payment is due:

Table 1 Levy invoicing schedule

image003

How much levy do I have to pay this year?

The table on page 13 lists the levy rates for all Commonwealth fishing concession for 2015-16.  Your levy is calculated by multiplying the number of concessions you own on the day of invoicing by the rate of that particular type of concession.

Why has the amount I pay for my levy changed this year?

AFMA only recovers the costs of managing each fishery in accordance with the CRIS. If the costs of management go up or down the amount to be collected from concession holders also goes up or down. Your levies may have increased or decreased this year depending on a change in costs that need to be recovered from your fishery, or a change in who is required to pay those costs.

A list of which fisheries have had levy decreases or increases in 2015-16 and the reasons for those changes starts on page 10.

Is the levy subject to Goods & Services Tax (GST)?

Levies are excluded from GST. As such AFMA does not issue a tax invoice for levies.  AFMA’s Australian Business Number is 81 098 497 517.

How do I pay my levy?

Each year AFMA receives levy payments by cheque and direct deposit that it cannot match to an invoice as no reference numbers have been provided.  Please ensure this does not happen to you by including your levy reference numbers when making all payments by these methods.

The reference number on each invoice is unique and allows AFMA to confirm your payment. 

AFMA offers a number of payment methods:

BPAY

BPAY is a national phone and internet payment system supported by all major banks and is the preferred method of payment. If you decide to pay your levy using BPAY there are a few things you will need to do:

  • use the biller code and reference number provided on the PAYMENT OPTIONS page of your invoice.
  • retain the transaction or reference number issued by BPAY for your records.
  • allow yourself plenty of time if you intend to use this service.  The average processing time is 2-3 working days but this may vary from bank to bank.

Direct Deposit to the National Australia Bank

Payment of your levies may be made by a direct deposit into AFMA’s bank account at any branch of the National Australia bank.  AFMA’s banking details can be found on the PAYMENT OPTIONS page of your levy invoice or reminder notice.

Please ensure you use the correct account details as they may change from the previous year and include your invoice reference number.  Using out-of-date account details to or failing to include your reference number may interfere with the correct recording of a payment made.

Credit Card

Please note an additional one per cent surcharge is applied if AFMA officers process your credit card payment.

To pay by credit card, complete the credit card details on the PAYMENT OPTIONS page of your levy invoice and:

  • fax it to 02 6225 5440;
  • post it to AFMA, PO Box 7051, Canberra Business Centre, Canberra ACT 2610.

Cheque or money order

To submit your payment by mail, please attach your cheque or money order (made payable to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority) to the remittance advice slip at the end of the PAYMENT OPTIONS page of your levy invoice and return it to:

AFMA
PO Box 7051
Canberra Business Centre
Canberra ACT 2610

AFMA takes no responsibility for mail delays. Please ensure you post your cheque or money order well in advance to allow for any delays in delivery. If your cheque or money order is not received at AFMA by the ‘due date’ for payment, your levy will automatically become overdue and penalties may apply. Any arrangement to pay will also be cancelled (if applicable).

What if I am having trouble paying my levy?

If you are having difficulty paying your levy by the due date, please contact AFMA as soon as possible on 1300 723 621 to discuss what payment options may be available to you.

If you do not pay your levy by the due date, AFMA will issue an overdue notice. The overdue notice will advise:

  • that the levy amount is overdue and will incur a penalty of 20 per cent per annum, calculated daily on the overdue amount;
  • if no payment is received within 14 days from the date of the overdue notice, any relevant fishing concessions will be suspended; and
  • if the levy remains unpaid, the relevant fishing concessions will be cancelled and legal action commenced to recover the debt.

AFMA will take all reasonable measures to ensure all levies are recovered.  Regardless of whether you were the concession owner that was issued the original levy invoice or not, AFMA reserves the right to suspend or cancel a concession due to outstanding levies or penalties relating to the concession. For this reason AFMA recommends that you check on the status of levy payments before purchasing or leasing concessions.

How do I enter into an arrangement to pay my overdue levy?

A concession holder can request to enter into an arrangement to pay overdue levy and any associated penalties. To request an arrangement to pay a concession holder must contact AFMA as soon as possible on 1300 723 621 to discuss payment options. Note that there is also a one-off administration fee of $220 to set up an arrangement to pay.

In accordance with the Fisheries Management Act 1991, entering into an arrangement to pay the 2015-16 levies does not exclude the concession owner from accruing penalty. Penalty is calculated at the rate of 20 per cent per annum (calculated daily) on overdue amounts.

A request to enter into an arrangement for the payment of overdue debt must be submitted in writing to AFMA and must set out a proposed payment plan together with any necessary justification.

In an application to enter into an arrangement to pay, a concession holder must include:

  • a repayment schedule which;
    • includes an initial payment of $220 administration fee and 25 per cent of the outstanding debt
    • includes monthly payment instalments of 25 per cent of the outstanding debt.
  • an acknowledgment that failure to pay any of the instalments by the due date will result in the immediate suspension of their concession(s) and the remainder of the debt will become immediately payable;
  • acknowledgement that  penalty will accrue on outstanding amounts; and
  • a commitment to make payment on or before the due dates of the plan.

AFMA’s consideration of arrangement

In considering whether or not to enter into an arrangement for payment of overdue levy, AFMA will consider:

  • the management arrangements applicable to the fishery for which the request has been made;
  • statements and evidence from the applicant in relation to their financial situation;
  • previous payment history;
  • the timing of payments of the overdue debt.

If AFMA agrees to an arrangement for payment, a letter will be forwarded which:

  • sets out the conditions and terms applying to the arrangement;
  • sets out the schedule of payments;
  • advises that if any repayment is missed the balance will immediately become due and payable and the fishing concession(s) will be suspended; and
  • who to contact regarding the arrangement.

What if I don’t make a payment or enter into an arrangement to pay?

Once an invoice has been issued permanent transfers will not be registered until any outstanding levy and/ or associated charges relating to AFMA concessions are paid in full.

All levies are a debt due to the Commonwealth of Australia.  AFMA has an obligation to collect the levy once an invoice has been issued.

Overview of cost recovered budget and levy collection

Despite inflation, AFMA’s cost recovered budgets for fisheries management have remained relatively consistent since 2005.  In 2010 AFMA made a commitment to the Commonwealth fishing industry that it would keep levies at or below the rate applied in 2005-06 once corrected for Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases. Since making this undertaking in 2010, AFMA has outperformed the cumulative CPI by more than $27 million, that is, industry has paid $27 million less than it would have done if CPI increases had been applied each year.

Figure 2 AFMA Actual Levies vs CPI Adjusted Levies

image004

For 2015-16, the total AFMA budget (excluding Torres Strait Fisheries) that is subject to cost recovery is $13.201 million.  This is a decrease of 4.46 per cent or $0.617 million on the previous year.

The amount to be collected from the fishing industry each year comprises the budgeted cost recovery amount, plus or minus the acquittal from the prior financial year. In addition, AFMA collects a research levy of 0.25 per cent of each fishery’s gross value of production (GVP) on behalf of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).

The actual amount proposed to be collected in 2015-16 through the Fishing Levy Regulation 2015 for Commonwealth fisheries excluding the FRDC research component is $12.459 million. This is a decrease of 2.32 per cent on the $12.754 million levied in 2014‑15.

AFMA has kept costs down through creating efficiencies across the organisation including contracting and market testing of key fisheries management services, the implementation and use of technology based solutions such as electronic monitoring, and identifying and addressing ‘red tape initiatives’ to reduce regulatory burden.

Across all fisheries the total levy amount for 2015-16 has decreased compared to 2014-15 however the levy amount for each fishery may vary substantially due to several factors including:

  • changes in management and research priorities for each fishery;
  • adjustment for prior year over/under collections; and
  • changes in priorities through the financial year that alter the amount of resources required to administer the fishery.

Fisheries in which levies have decreased for 2015-16

Coral Sea Fishery

There has been a 44.86 per cent ($81 698) decrease in the levy amount payable for 2015‑16 ($100 432) compared to the levy amount payable for 2014-15 ($182 130).

The decrease has resulted from a reduction in the cost recovered budget and an underspend in the previous year.

Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery

There has been a 23.73 per cent ($398 293) decrease in the levy amount payable for 2015-16 ($1 279 821) compared to the levy amount payable for 2014-15 ($1 678 104).

This decrease is largely due to the implementation of electronic monitoring in the fishery and an underspend in the previous year.

North West Slope Fishery

There has been a 20.41 cent ($20 084) decrease in the levy amount payable for 2015-16 ($78 336) compared to the levy amount payable for 2014-15 ($98 420).

This decrease has resulted from a reduction in the cost recovered budget and an underspend in the previous year.

Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery

Commonwealth South East Trawl Sector

There was a 28.68 per cent ($939 194) decrease in the levy amount payable for 2015-16 ($2 335 074) compared to the levy payable for 2014-15 ($3 274 268).

This decrease is due to reduced research costs associated with no fishery independent survey being scheduled for 2015.

Gillnet Hook and Trap Sector

There has been a 14.42 per cent ($341 043) decrease in the levy amount payable for 2015-16 ($2 023 841) compared to the levy amount payable for 2014-15 ($2 364 884).

This decrease is due to reduced research costs and a reduction in observer and monitoring costs resulting from the introduction of electronic monitoring.

Great Australian Bight Sector

There has been a 13.27 per cent ($67 249) decrease in the levy amount payable for 2015‑16 ($439 376) compared to the levy payable for 2014-15 ($506 625).

This decrease is due to a reduction in research costs associated with the fishery.

Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery

There has been a 12.65 per cent ($131 699) decrease in the levy amount payable for 2015-16 ($909 328) compared to the levy amount payable for 2014-15 ($1 041 027).

This decrease has resulted from the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna agreeing to fund the Southern Bluefin Tuna Aerial Survey in 2016.

Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery

There has been a 94.73 per cent ($85 179) decrease in the levy payable for 2015-16 ($4 739) compared to the levy amount payable for 2014-15 ($89 918).

The decrease is attributable to a large underspend in the previous year and a reduction in the cost recovered budget for 2015-16.

Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery

There has been a 21.05 per cent ($55 766) decrease in the levy amount payable for 2015‑16 ($209 206) compared to the levy amount payable for 2014‑15 ($264 972).

The decrease is due to the implementation of electronic monitoring in the fishery and an underspend in the previous year.

Fisheries in which levies have increased in 2015-16

Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery

There has been a 162.30 per cent ($205 150) increase in the levy amount payable for 2015-16 ($331 557) compared to the levy amount payable for 2014-15 ($126 406).

This increase is primarily due to the anticipated additional management costs associated with raising the total allowable catch in the fishery for 2015.

Eastern and Western Skipjack Fishery

There has been a 38.09 per cent ($20 499) increase in the levy payable for 2015-16 ($74 313) compared to the levy payable for 2014-15 ($53 814).

The increase is due to the inclusion of budgeted observer days in anticipation of increased effort in 2015-16.

Heard Island and Macdonald Islands Fishery

There has been a 206.38 per cent ($1 020 915) increase in the levy amount payable for 2015-16 ($1 515 591) compared to the levy amount payable for 2014–15 ($494 676).

The increase is due to an overspend in the previous year relating to an increase in observer coverage in addition to an increase in observer and salary costs for the fishery for 2015-16.

Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery

There has been an 11.73 per cent ($34 182) increase in the levy amount payable for 2015‑16 ($325 528) compared to the levy amount payable for 2014-15 ($291 346).

The increase is due to an overspend in the previous year and increased salary costs for the fishery.

Northern Prawn Fishery

There has been a 1.50 per cent ($28 847) increase in the levy amounts payable for 2015‑16 ($1 945 896) compared with the levy amount payable for 2014-15 ($1 917 049).

Although there was also a significant reduction in the cost recovered budget for 2015-16 ($307 822) the impact of this on the payable levy was offset by a previous underspend in 2013-14 ($340 567) reducing the levy to be paid for that year.

Small Pelagic Fishery

There has been a 126.65 per cent ($450 073) increase in the levy amount payable for 2015-16 ($805 429) compared to the levy amount payable for 2014-15 ($355 356).

This increase is attributable to additional management costs including bycatch mitigation costs associated with increased activity in the fishery.

Southern Squid Jig Fishery

There has been a 432.48 per cent ($65 145) increase in the levy payable for 2015-16 ($80 208) compared to the levy payable for 2014-15 ($15 063).

This increase is mainly attributable to a considerable underspend in 2013-14 significantly reducing the levy payable in 2014-15.

Table 2 Commonwealth Fisheries Levy Rates for 2015-16

Fishery 2015-16 ($)
Bass Straight Central Zone Scallop Fishery 
Commercial scallop quota SFR0.75310
Coral Sea Fishery 
Tier 1 permit5,156.63
Tier 2 permit (aquarium fish sector)619.30
Tier 2 permit (lobster and/or trochus sectors)619.30
Tier 2 permit (line and trap sector)1,486.32
Tier 2 permit (trawl and trap sector)1,486.32
Tier 2 permit (sea cucumber sector)619.30
Eastern Skipjack Fishery 
Eastern Skipjack permit2,322.28
Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery 
Albacore Tuna quota SFR0.0602
Bigeye Tuna quota SFR0.1628
Broadbilled Swordfish quota SFR0.1899
Longline boat SFR2,980.60
Minorline boat SFR1,354.63
Striped Marlin quota SFR0.0398
Yellowfin Tuna quota SFR0.4131
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery 
Mackerel Icefish quota SFR27.1649
Patagonian Toothfish quota SFR27.1649
Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery 
Patagonian Toothfish quota SFR17.3512
Northern Prawn Fishery 
Northern Prawn Gear SFR61.72
North West Slope Trawl Fishery 
North West Slope Trawl Permit11,552.00
Small Pelagic Fishery 
Australian Sardine quota SFR0.01321
Eastern sub-area Blue Mackerel quota SFR0.01321
Eastern sub-area Jack Mackerel quota SFR0.01321
Eastern sub-area Redbait quota SFR0.01321
Western sub-area Blue Mackerel quota SFR0.01321
Western sub-area Jack Mackerel quota SFR0.01321
Western sub-area Redbait quota SFR0.01321
Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery 
Autolongline permit2,638.03
East Coast Deep Water Trawl  permit438.46
Gillnet boat SFR3,151.04
GHT fishing permit1,137.65
GHT trap permit1,978.53
GAB trawl boat SFR43,937.60
Scalefish hook boat SFR1,443.79
Shark hook boat SFR2,587.30
Trawl boat SFR7,499.95
Victorian Coastal Waters fishing permit313.18
Alfonsino quota SFR0.00829
Bight redfish quota SFR0.00462
Blue eye trevalla quota SFR0.38858
Blue grenadier quota SFR0.10024
Blue warehou quota SFR0.00446
Deepwater shark (Eastern) individual transferable quota unit0.02261
Deepwater shark (Western) individual transferable quota unit0.05623
Deepwater flathead quota SFR0.00760
Elephant fish quota SFR0.42190
Flathead quota SFR0.19261
Gemfish (Eastern) quota SFR0.09058
Gemfish (Western) quota SFR0.05738
Gummy shark quota SFR0.49440
Jackass morwong quota SFR0.04491
John dory quota SFR0.04239
Mirror dory quota SFR0.05753
Ocean perch quota SFR0.06962
Orange roughy (Albany and Esperance) quota SFR0.00034
Orange roughy (Cascade Plateau) quota SFR0.00024
Orange roughy (Eastern) quota SFR0.00038
Orange roughy (Southern) quota SFR0.00067
Orange roughy (Western) quota SFR0.00570
Oreo individual transferable quota unit0.02506
Smooth Oreo (Cascade Plateau) individual transferable quota unit0.00009
Smooth Oreo (other) individual transferable quota unit0.00043
Pink ling quota SFR0.38316
Redfish quota SFR0.06257
Ribaldo individual transferable quota unit0.05572
Royal red prawn quota SFR0.05394
Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (cont.) 
Saw shark quota SFR0.24821
School shark quota SFR0.39179
School whiting quota SFR0.06143
Silver trevally quota SFR0.03688
Silver warehou quota SFR0.13629
Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery 
Southern Bluefin tuna quota SFR0.1898
Southern Squid Jig Fishery 
Southern Squid Jig gear SFR15.8986
Western Deep Water Trawl Fishery 
Western Deepwater Trawl permit460.36
Western Skipjack Fishery 
Western Skipjack permit2322.28
Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery 
Western Tuna and Billfish longline boat SFR1,051.62
Bigeye Tuna quota SFR0.0393
Broadbill Swordfish quota SFR0.0393
Striped Marlin quota SFR0.0393
Yellowfin Tuna quota SFR0.0393

AFMA contacts

If you have any questions regarding the levies for your fishery, please contact the relevant Fishery Manager:

Table 3 Fishery contacts

FisheryContactTelephone
Bass Strait Scallop FisherySally Weekes02 6225 5520
Coral Sea FisheryMarcus Finn02 6225 5433
Eastern Tuna and Billfish FisheryStephanie Martin02 6225 5367
Heard Island and McDonald Islands FisheryJo Fisher02 6225 5499
Macquarie Island Toothfish FisheryJo Fisher02 6225 5499
North West Slope FisheryShane Fava02 6225 5409
Northern Prawn FisheryShane Fava02 6225 5409
Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery
·         Commonwealth Trawl SectorMarcus Finn02 6225 5433
·         Great Australian Bight Trawl SectorMarcus Finn02 6225 5433
·         Gillnet Hook and TrapRyan Keightley02 6225 5397
Eastern and Western Skipjack FisheryStephanie Martin02 6225 5367
Small Pelagic FisherySally Weekes02 6225 5520
Southern Bluefin Tuna FisheryMatthew Daniel02 6225 5338
Southern Squid Jig FisherySally Weekes02 6225 5520
Western Deep Water Trawl FisheryShane Fava02 6225 5409
Western Tuna and Billfish FisheryStephanie Martin02 6225 5367

If you have any questions regarding payment of levies please contact the Licensing Policy team:

Simone PontSenior Debt Recovery Officer02 6225 5343
Andrew PowellManager Licensing Policy02 6225 5561