Project number: 2012-757
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $45,758.79
Principal Investigator: Ewan Colquhoun
Organisation: Ridge Partners
Project start/end date: 30 Sep 2012 - 29 Apr 2013


In Sept 2009 the industry completed a Discussion Paper regarding optional Governance Models as part if its move to "Oysters Australia." This paper identified a number of key issues:
1. LACK OF R&D INVESTMENT - the industry collects and invests a relatively small 0.22% of turnover in R&D,
2. UNCERTAINTY on R&D Spend - there is uncertainty at a number of levels about ongoing certainty of R&D funding at current levels. These concerns arise from: the effectively ‘voluntary’ nature of R&D collections from SA and Tasmania; potential legal risk regarding the collection mechanism in NSW; uncertainty regarding the long term retention of the current FRDC $ for $ funding gearing model; uncertainty about what will happen with R&D fund matching from the Seafood CRC beyond 2013/14; and industry feedback suggesting state based service models are not always meeting all growers' expectations.
3. LACK OF MARKETING & PROMOTION SPEND - industry relies solely on other organisations (SCRC, SEA and other private organisations) to promote oysters to consumers. Surveys highlight industry’s desire to better promote the oyster industry and its product. There is no mechanism in place that allows the industry to invest collectively and efficiently in marketing, industry promotion and other service (e.g. bio-security, training) activities.
4. LACK OF FUNDS to support a national full-time Executive Officer for OA.


1. Collate &amp
review information on existing funding mechanisms used in the oyster industry and relationship to any relevant legislation
2. Collate &amp
review recommendations on funding required for high priority strategies for oyster industry growth
3. Collate &amp
review recommendations (based on previous industry consultation) on preferred levy mechanisms
4. Document external stakeholder views re arrangements and options for funding mechanisms - consulting with NSW legislation and agencies (high priority), and FRDC
5. Draft and release a Briefing Paper (with 1 page summary) to Industry identifying the need for funding, levy options, and some case examples and stakeholder questionnaire feedback
6. Present at state industry meetings (August in SA, August in Tas, TBA in NSW) and document responses to Briefing Paper issues
7. Document the preferred funding option in detail, related mechanisms, rates and impacts, proposed adoption pathway, implementation process and time frame
8. Conduct a meeting (possibly teleconference) with industry leaders / key stakeholders to confirm the recommended funding option and implementation pathway
9. Conduct a meeting with stakeholders in NSW to discuss recommended funding options and implementation pathway as relevant to NSW
10. If supported funding option is a national levy, draft a short brief for the conduct of the ballot process and conduct the ballot process.
11. Draft and submit a final report of the project process and recommended outcomes for Oysters Australia

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-9874281-3-4
Author: Ewan Colquhoun
Final Report • 2014-02-01 • 821.69 KB


Funding for industry development, operations, promotion and other industry services is increasingly important in every modern food production sector. This project sought to confirm an agreed national funding mechanism for joint R&D, marketing and promotion and administrative support for Oysters Australia (OA).

This project revealed the challenges and options that the Australian Oyster Industry faces. Oysters are losing market share even as the demands of domestic seafood consumers rise, global risks (biosecurity, genetic improvement, market competitiveness) are threatening local enterprise sustainability and viability, and growers struggle to communicate and find common approaches that invest in real responses.

The report has detailed existing funding mechanisms, related state cost impacts, and leverage options. Presentations at regional and state meetings in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania have opened the debate and highlighted Oysters Australia’s need to change its communication techniques so that growers are aware of its aims and achievements.

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