This year saw the appointment of WFSA’s new Independent Chair, Harry Petropoulos.  Jonas Woolford stepped down from position of Chair and was promptly elected as Association President.  I have been absolutely blessed to have the opportunity to work alongside both Harry and Jonas.

As well as the general tasks associated with running the office, myself, Harry and Jonas have continued to focus on our four strategic priorities of Access Security, Co-management, Governance and Industry Capacity.  We have also continued discussions with the Recreational and Conservation sectors.  We have accelerated engagement with Post-Harvest and Aquaculture sectors with the setup of new sub-committees for each of those.  These new sub-committees will meet for the first time in the new financial year with the view of building on these relationships and demonstrating a united seafood industry voice.

We have continued to put pressure on Government on many issues including transparency within the current cost recovery process, improved licensing services for licence holders, review of policies, the current co-management status, the lack of competition around PIRSA/SARDI services and marine parks compensation to name a few.  We have been strong in our submissions to reviews and inquiries such as the SARDI review and the Productivity Commission inquiry into the regulation of the Australian Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture Sectors. 

With the successful continued funding of the Native Title Officer position, I have maintained ongoing consultation with Respondents and specific sector Executive Officers as well as regular reporting to the Wildcatch Council and associated members.  Both Tim Mellor (WFSA Native Title Legal Adviser) and I attended 8 regional information sessions for WFSA Members and as a result a full updated respondent list including all claims was created and we have verified the currency of interests.  Having a point of contact for WFSA members, and between members, NNTT, Federal Court, native title representative bodies, applicants and respondent parties (given the very large number of respondents in this group) has been crucial.  It has enabled me to keep well informed of any issues amongst members or any other interested parties.

I have attended all National Seafood Industry Alliance (NSIA) meetings this financial year both face to face and teleconference.  At the 2015 NSIA Annual General Meeting I was elected as NSIA secretary.  The focus for NSIA this financial year has been progressing the establishment of a National Peak Body and to date the engagement and support of the process from industry has been overwhelming.  In addition to this the NSIA continues to represent industry on issues such as the Diesel Fuel Rebate, Country of Origin Labelling for Seafood and Resource Access. 

It has been a more than busy year on the project front.  WFSA have been involved in the following projects:

SEAsonal SEEchange

This project addresses the obvious disconnect between fresh locally caught seafood, its provision by local fishers and the subsequent value chain.  For those involved closely within Industry, this connection seems obvious, however evidence by way of public perception suggests this is not the case. 

A box of seasonal seafood is put up for auction at SAFCOL on a monthly basis.  The product is a donated “box of fish/seafood” provided by an Industry group or Business to profile their seasonal product and Fishery.

Since our first auction in April 2015 to the end of financial year we have raised a total of $7,720.50 for Variety SA through Car 58.  Early in the new year WFSA will be hosting an industry dinner with a view to raise a further $10,000 for Variety SA. 

WFSA are proud to be associated with such a worthy charity.

AMSA – Safety Management System workshops and template (WFSA & AMSA)

During 2015/2016 assistance was provided to WFSA to facilitate a series of workshops on SMS’s.  As a result of these workshops a broad template for both large and small businesses has been provided to EO’s to work with their Members to personalise these specific to their own operations.

SafeWork SA – Development of a Drug and Alcohol Policy for Primary Industry sectors (6 incl seafood) (WFSA & Primary Industries Skills Council)

WFSA in conjunction with the Primary Industries Skills Council undertook a project funded by SafeWork SA to provide appropriate drug and alcohol policy coverage for all major sectors of Primary Industries. This work was identified as urgent given the growing incidence of illicit drug use within our society. 

The project identified competing approaches in managing drugs and alcohol issues with a range of impacts including a potential loss of workers.  To address these issues, the project focused on the development of a more generic policy that provides greater protection for enterprises as well as a more responsive management plan that can deal with the varying issues facing enterprises.  This project was successfully completed and a drug and alcohol template policy was distributed to members for use within their individual businesses.

This financial year has been one of the busiest I have experienced.  Aligned with both our business and strategic plans we have promoted our Seafood Industry and made a real presence within our community and with decisions makers.  Toward the end of the financial year WFSA members and other industry stakeholders met to discuss WFSA’s strategic priorities moving forward (2016 to 2020).  During this process, it was abundantly obvious that despite current priorities remaining relevant, there was a strong focus on the importance of industry gaining community acceptance.  It is important that we keep moving forward and building on the significant impact we have had this year.  We will continue to do this and use any opportunities that arise to their full potential.

I am pleased to announce that WFSA has also welcomed Adelaide’s Finest Supermarkets, SA Seafood Express and Valvoline (Australia) Pty Ltd as industry partners for this and the coming year providing both financial and in-kind support for WFSA and our valued members.  I look forward to working with all WFSA Partners and building on these relationships.

I would like to thank Harry and Jonas, for their commitment to the Association and their continued guidance throughout the year.  I would also like to thank all Council and Council Advisory Committee members for their continued support and patience.  I look forward to continue working with everyone during 2016/2017.

Franca Romeo, Executive Officer