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Executive Officer Appointed - 10 March 2021

Dear Member

As this latest update reaches you, I know that industry is busy in peak season, as much as the constraint that current weather patterns will permit. Best of luck and we wish you all a productive season.

I trust that all in industry have taken action to become familiar with your obligations and responsibilities for safety regulations relative to Marine and Workplace safety matters.

SSPWA Esperance representative David Gray has unfortunately stepped away from Board duties for now due to other commitments. We thank David for his contribution, knowledge and the expertise he brought to the SSPWA Board. Should you wish to nominate someone from the Esperance region to fill the vacancy on the SSPWA Board please contact Paddy Daniels or Alison Bramwell.

The SSPWA board is pleased to confirm the appointment of Neil MacGuffie to the position of Executive Officer. Neil has recently travelled from Victoria to WA, and after mandatory isolation he will settle into his new role. Neil, along with Alison Bramwell, will be based in the SSPWA office in the WAFIC building at Fremantle, with the expectation of regular on-site work across the South West and Southern coastal regions. Neil’s immediate task, however, will be to familiarise himself with the various matters that requiring urgent attention and prioritising those to be handled from his fourteen day isolation location.

The SSPWA Board met recently with the WAFIC Chair and CEO in Albany on 16th February. Discussion was frank and honest, however no firm decisions were made as to our operational future. At our meeting, the point was made that SSPWA believes that going back to the future was not an option for our members. We made the point that the sector body model must continue in order for us to represent the twenty four fisheries in our regions. The subsequent WAFIC Board meeting on 24th February resulted in confirmation that the sector body model will continue, however, of some concern is that funding to SSPWA will change significantly.

Members will be aware that the current SSPWA funding agreement with WAFIC expires on 30 June 2021, as does WAFIC’s funding agreement with the State government.

Where to from here?

The dot points listed here may give you an idea as to the possible pathway forward.

  • At expiry of the current agreement the balance of funds will be retained by SSPWA to help fund current and future core activities to 31 December 2021.

  • WAFIC and SSPWA will collaboratively develop a transitional funding agreement to cover the period between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021.

• SSPWA needs to improve efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and service delivery outcomes; something that we have already been engaged in by way of our current Business Plan.

• Demonstrate improved representational coverage & accountability to industry.

• The second half of 2021 will be used to further develop a new funding agreement from 1 January 2022.

• It is proposed that the new funding agreement will generally be on the same terms and conditions as the existing base agreement, excluding additional funds.

i.e., base formula of 35% GVP only; a very concerning situation.

• The WAFIC Board has approved implementation of a “matrix model” management system by 1 July 2021, so as to demonstrate to government that each industry sector is at least receiving the relative degree of attention and support it requires.

• It is proposed that from 1 July 2021 WAFIC employs the SSPWA executive officer as part of the matrix model, as part of the resource access team facilitating industry service delivery and advocacy to government. The identified skills and experience of SSPWA’s new Executive Officer are expected to feature significantly in WAFIC’s matrix model approach, whatever that may be post June 30 this year.

Although the details contained above are somewhat generalised, we will keep members informed of progress. There is, however, still much more to be done in formalising the way forward before the end of our current funding agreement. It is fair to say that the SSPWA Board still has operational and logistical concerns with the proposed WAFIC model.

I need to point out that the move to a “matrix model”, although imposing significant operational restrictions from a SSPWA perspective, has been somewhat necessitated because of COVID 19, together with Chinese restrictions on Australian seafood exports. In the meantime, SSPWA would welcome some opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Fisheries Minister, especially given our presence and responsibilities across the South West and Southern coastal regions.

Be assured that the SSPWA Board’s support for all members remains central to our purpose and way forward, and particularly to growing and maintaining a strong Board and membership base beyond 2021.

Should you have any concerns or questions please let us know by contacting;

• Executive Officer Neil MacGuffie 0428 609 007 or

• Your regional representative

• Chair Matt Benson

Best wishes

Matt Benson-Lidholm JP


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