President’s Report – January 2020

by | Jan 22, 2020

Happy New Year

What a busy month it has been, AFTA has been pushing forward with some new initiatives, we’ve added a new communications manager, sent out membership renewals, created a tradeshow prospectus and of course the bushfire appeal.

AFTA Fishing Industry Natural Disaster Appeal

There has been a tremendous number of Australian’s including members of the fishing industry impacted by the fires and the ongoing drought.

The AFTA board wanted to do something straight away but had many internal discussions as to what we could do to help. The consensus was that we needed to assist in getting people back to these areas. Not right now during the fires, but in the future but how to achieve this.

From these discussions the Australia Fishing Industry Disaster Appeal was born. This appeal was created on gofundme, to allow everyone to be able to donate to a worthwhile, industry specific cause. To kick off the appeal, AFTA put 20k straight into the trust account. Since then, many members have added generous contributions. The money, to be managed by committee, will be used with the goal of getting people to holiday and fish in these affected areas.


This appeal has been well supported, and we appreciate the efforts of the industry, but we are still looking to help. Most of the donations have come from the top wholesalers, but wouldn’t it be nice to get more in the industry to donate. It is not the amount that is important, just a little bit of help for affected people, areas and the greater fishing industry.

If you would like to contribute head to AFTA Appeal

Welcome – New Staff Member – Rachel Quilty


AFTA decided last year that a communications manager role was needed to help AFTA achieve its goals of improving communications with industry. We acknowledge in the past AFTA has not been able to effectively communicate what we have been doing behind the scenes, which has resulted in a feeling among some members that the only benefit of AFTA is the trade show. I have been guilty myself of thinking this in the past prior to signing on as president.

Over the last few years AFTA’s focus has been on improving our financial position, which meant that a freeze was in place on staffing. With AFTA now in a better financial position, a decision has been made to get a contractor in to assist with communication as well as manage AFTA in general.

New Executive Manager – Communications – Rachel Quilty

Please welcome our new Executive Manager – Communications, Rachel Quilty. Rachel’s job is very broad but includes providing and open line of communication to AFTA for members plus to assist and communicate projects the board is working on that deliver a benefit to all members.

Rachel has been thrown into the deep end so far, with a lot happening at once but has handled it with grace. She works well with the board and will be getting new programs implemented quickly. First has been the new membership program, which allows AFTA to now have a membership database which is fully available online.

New Membership Directory Now Active

Once fully up and running, the wholesale membership directory is a place where anyone can search for brands, products, or just about anything a wholesaler wants to put in their profile. It makes this the only online retail membership database and will run parallel with our annual AFTA magazine which will still contain the information.

Retailers will have their own listing with a location search function. As we know, the easier it is for someone to find you, and the more eyes you get, the more sales will result. We hope to use this retail database to help consumers find local shops. An additional benefit we are now offering to our retail members.

There is so much more we want to implement now that we are we are able to move forward with these ideas. Another of which is a discounted insurance program for members, we have already been in talks with an insurance company and hope to be able to present the results from these discussions in the future.

Natural Disaster Media Releases

Rachel has also been busy preparing and sending bulletins in relation to the Natural Disaster Appeal, membership renewals and calls for new product contributions for the monthly eNewsletter. She will be touching base with members over time to update contact details on our system and find out any issues you wish to raise.

Rachel was the last piece of the AFTA puzzle and will enable us to once again be in full operational mode and go forward into the future. The current structure is below.

Independent Chair / Political Advisor – Bob Baldwin
Executive Manager Communications – Rachel Quilty
Tradeshow Manager – Nicholle Smith
Bookkeeper – Currently done by accountant but looking for bookkeeper to work with the accountant

Save These Dates:

AFTA Fishing Tackle Show 9th – 11th July

AFTA Fishing Tackle Show is scheduled for the 9th to 11th or July with the 3rd Day, Saturday 11th July 2020 a Public Day.

The public day is the direct result of the positive feedback from last year’s trial.

The tradeshow prospectus is starting to go out now and will be sent to existing exhibitors over the next couple of weeks before going public for anyone to book.

For more information click here.

Welcome News – Fisheries Research and Development Corporation Recognises Recreational Fishing Industry

For some time AFTA has raised concerns with FRDC (Fisheries Research and Development Corporation) about industry representation.

Finally, legislation has been amended to recognise the Recreational Fishing Industry and to seek our contribution on the direction, needs and concerns of the greater Fishing Trade Industry and Recreational Fishing Industry.

The AFTA board also thanks Colin Tannahill of Shimano Australia who has dedicated much time and effort on behalf of the Industry to assist in shift in policy to recognise the Recreational Fishing Industry.

New Vice President

Damian Kerves has stepped down from the board and VP role with Mitch Birt from Pure Fishing taking up the position temporarily.

There will be a vote on the position at the next AGM.

Mitch has been great help so far on the board and is on top of everything being done and I would like to thank him for his assistance.

Yours sincerely

Michael Starkey
Australian Fishing Trade Association