“All indicators are that our industry is in a strong position at present, but we must plan for when the Government support tapers off”
The Hon Bob Baldwin

AFTA Independant Chair

AFTA Chairs Report March 2021

AFTA Trade Show 2021

Some great news for AFTA Members! I am pleased to advise that the AFTA Trade Show has been successful in being granted “Approved Event” status under the federal “Business Events Grants” program. Click on July page, see line 8 on the Schedule of Approved Business Events

There have also been updated changes (11 March) to the “Business Events Grant Package” that will benefit many of those attending the AFTA Trade Show. It is critical you read the guidelines to see how eligible deductions apply to your business.

The key point is the minimum grant amount will be reduced to $5,000 (from $10,000) to allow smaller businesses the opportunity to apply, there is an increase in the number of delegates covered by the grant, an increasing in the sponsorship cap and that applications for the grant will be extended to 30 June 2021.

What does this mean for you?  For any exhibitors or attendee who spends more than $10,000 in eligible expenses, they can claim back 50% of the approved costs in attending or exhibiting at Trade Show.  Please note that while AFTA is an approved Business Event, individuals must submit their own claim for funds, citing AFTA as the event.

An updated version of the program guidelines and eligibility criteria for the Schedule of Approved Business Events will be published by end of March.


On a recent trip to Canberra, I took the opportunity to meet with Minister Jonathan Duniam to discuss the Trade Show, the Business Events grant and how important it was for both AFTA and the recreational fishing industry going forward after the cancellation in 2020 due to COVID-19.  His support was forthcoming, and he advised will attend the AFTA Trade Show.

Qld Black Jewfish

As stated in last months report, “Resource Sharing” between the commercial and recreational sectors is a critical issue across all species.  The principle of “Resource Sharing” in fisheries management is not a “first in – best dressed” scenario as is currently happening with the Black Jewfish closure in Queensland.

Recreational fishing quotas are set by “bag limits” and any species should not be shut down just because the commercial sector has reached its quota.

AFTA will be making representations to the Qld Minister for Fisheries, The Hon Mark Furner to work towards resolving this issue.


WA Election – 13th March

AFTA congratulates the WA Government on its resounding re-election, but importantly AFTA recognises the outstanding efforts of Dr Andrew Rowland and his team at Recfishwest in being at the forefront of recreational fishing issues in WA.  Recfishwest has strongly advocated the Government over the past term and AFTA looks forward to working with Recfishwest going forward.

“Fish For Life – Clean Up Your Fishing Spot”

Fishing-related litter left behind by a minority of irresponsible anglers can be a really bad look for the recreational fishing sector, so here is an opportunity for your tackle shop to do something about it! The NSW DPI’s Fishcare program is developing a new initiative to undertake “clean up events” at key fishing spots across NSW.

A vital aspect of this initiative is the involvement of grassroots fishos in helping solve the problems associated with fishing-related litter and this provides a great leadership role for local tackle shops to be engaged and involved in.

The “Fish For Life – Clean Up Your Fishing Spot” initiative will build on the great work already undertaken by groups such as Dubbo’s Inland Waterways Ozfish and the Australian Land Based Anglers Association in conducting clean-up operations around inland rivers and dams and on popular LBG ledges and will hopefully help inspire more fishos to “do the right thing”.

The “Fish For Life – Clean Up Your Fishing Spot” initiative aims to build on the success of Clean Up Australia Day by involving grassroots fishers in organising regular clean-ups of key fishing locations around the State.

NSW DPI will be working very closely with the Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) to develop this initiative and will be kicking things off next week at Lake Illawarra with support from the team at the Compleat Angler store at Windang plus a crew of Fishcare Vols and local anglers. This event will be followed up by a Sydney-based angler clean-up day.

If you’d like to register your interest in getting involved in a “Fish For Life – Clean Up Your Fishing Spot” event in your local area, please send an email to fisheries.info@dpi.nsw.gov.au and we’ll get in touch!

“Let’s Fish” social media campaign

The Let’s Fish video clip production for South Australia and Queensland is progressing well with individually tailored media programs supported by substantial grants.   AFTA is awaiting the outcome of the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust grant program to see if a targeted program will be rolled out across NSW.

Once the final product is released, we would encourage all AFTA Members to help in promotion, after all the key objective is to have more people engaged in recfishing.

Protecting your assets

It would appear that the scum of the earth (thieves) have taken to modern technology to steal boats, trailers, vans and everything else that is locked or bolted down.   As AFTA Director, Kord Lukus recently experienced with the theft of his caravan, thieves brazenly use high powered cordless disk grinders fitted with diamond blades to cut through locks, chains, bolts in a secured environment to steal it, so what is the solution???

Video Cameras? Today’s thieves are so brazen that they don’t even bother to hide their faces as they commit the crime.

A GPS Tracker??? One common problem for trailer boats, is the theft of the trailer whilst at the boat ramp unattended, exacerbating the situation for the returning fisher in having to find a trailer at short notice just to get the boat out of the water.

Whilst GPS Trackers are somewhat an expensive upfront solution at least you can track the asset, some even have proximity alerts when moved alerting your mobile phone.   Please note that the GPS Tracker needs to be discreetly installed so that is cannot be just disconnected and dumped.

Not only is this worth researching to suit your own need but could be an additional retail sales opportunity for tech-savvy stores.

Given most insurance companies insist on commercial preventative locking arrangements rather than chain/cable & padlock solutions, perhaps insurance companies should look to provide a policy discount for approved GPS Trackers.

As a footnote, due to viral social media sharing of Kord’s post with pictures, the caravan has been recovered.


Gearing Up for the Post-Pandemic World: A Q&A with Salesforce’s Caila Schwartz

I thought I would share an interesting article focussing on retail trade trends through and post the pandemic.

“The last 12 months shook up the retail industry like never before, but now the dust is starting to settle. With COVID-19 vaccines being distributed and states opening back up, we need to anticipate the near future and gear up for the post-pandemic retail landscape.”

Consumers adopted new behaviours when the pandemic hit. What are some of the most notable ones you’ve seen?

There are two behaviours that stand out to me. The first is that consumers are shifting their spending into new categories. Health & beauty, home goods, and sporting goods all saw the highest growth rates in purchases last year. Meanwhile, apparel and footwear had growth below the industry average. 

Read more here


Don’t be Alarmed or Surprised

As I begin travelling around the countryside again now COVID restrictions are being eased (with one of my other business hats on) I am dropping in at random to meet with both AFTA members and non-members.  The purpose, besides introducing myself, is to get the latest on the ground feeling of where our industry is currently at.  So, if I happen to drop in for a chat (coffee – black, strong please 😃) I look forward to meeting you and your staff.

Tight lines and look forward to seeing you all at the AFTA Show!!