Policy for the allocation of marine aquaculture authorities
A Policy for the Allocation of Marine Aquaculture Authorities has been developed to establish a flexible and transparent process for allocating marine aquaculture authorities, which introduces a 'pre-assessment' process for future aquaculture approval applications in Queensland.
Aquaculture applications have previously been considered on a non-competitive, 'first come, first serve' basis. The Policy for Allocation of Marine Aquaculture Authorities describes a formal but flexible process for managing future applications using a combination of non-competitive and competitive processes.
Where no aquaculture plans are in place the allocation process is non-competitive, whereby applications are assessed using a queuing system on a 'first come, first served' basis.
However, in the case of regional plans there has been considerable government investment in planning, and there is increased value to proponents that will arise from pre-determination and upfront assessment of sites in planned areas.
The allocation policy therefore introduces a process for competitive allocation in areas where regional planning has been undertaken. Competitive allocation involves an expression of interest process. The merit of each application will be evaluated by an allocation panel using criteria. The application that best meets the allocation criteria will then need to submit a standard application for approval.
The only marine aquaculture plan currently in place is the Great Sandy Regional Marine Aquaculture Plan [https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/fisheries/aquaculture/investment/marine-aquaculture/great-sandy-regional-marine-aquaculture-plan]. No expressions of interest are currently being offered for these sites.
Please note: although no expression of interest is currently offered, there is a limited requirement for management of competing bids at this time. Therefore, individual applications for sites under the Great Sandy Regional Marine Aquaculture Plan may be considered on their merits if they meet the required standards.
Where it is not necessary to manage competing bids, those aspects of the Policy's administrative process that relate to managing competition (namely the expression of interest and the allocation panel) may be set aside.
The administrative process would proceed in a similar manner as for the situation where an expression of interest generates only a single application for a given site. The chief executive or delegate, rather than an allocation panel, would assess the application against the allocation criteria. If it is considered that the application adequately addresses the minimum mandatory criteria, the application will go through to the resource allocation authority assessment stage and be assessed on its merits.
The remainder of the Policy would still apply, in particular the requirements relating to allocation criteria and the assessment and issue of resource allocation authorities. Any application for a resource allocation authority that does not meet the allocation criteria would not be successful.
If you are interested in investing in any of the sites in the Great Sandy Regional Marine Aquaculture Plan, you are encouraged to contact an aquaculture manager for further advice by calling the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.
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