Terms of reference

Terms of Reference - Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel

Purpose of the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel

The purpose of the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel is to provide independent expert advice to the Minister responsible for fisheries and Fisheries Queensland on best practice fisheries management and implementation of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.

The expert panel is the primary mechanism for independent advice to the responsible Minister and Fisheries Queensland on fisheries management. The expert panel will provide expert advice on, and review of; fisheries matters to support the government more sustainably manage our fisheries. The expert panel will also assist in situations where there are conflicting views and a lack of consensus from different sectors about the best way forward.

The expert panel is a non-statutory advisory body. It is not a decision-making body.

Background and context

The Sustainable Fisheries Strategy (the Strategy) outlines the Queensland Government’s vision for the sustainable management of Queensland’s fisheries resources. A foundation of the Strategy is “improved stakeholder engagement".

A key action of the strategy is to establish an expert panel to provide independent advice on best practice fisheries management and science.

The adoption of an expert panel is consistent with contemporary best practice fishery management principles and helps address a key desire of stakeholders for improved stakeholder engagement and more evidence-based fisheries management.

 Figure 1: Consultation and engagement model under the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.

Figure 1: Consultation and engagement model under the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.

Relationship to the governing legislative framework

Management arrangements governing access to Queensland’s fisheries resource are predominantly established under the Fisheries Act 1994. Part 2 of the Fisheries Act 1994 provides that the Minister may establish an advisory committee or other body to assist the Minister in the administration of the Act. The establishment of the expert panel is in accordance with this provision.


Cost effective

Efforts should be made to ensure the expert panel is cost effective to administer.

Independence and sound scientific basis

Efforts should be made to ensure the expert panel’s independence from government and stakeholder interests is maintained. To underpin evidence-based decision making, the expert panel’s advice should be based in relevant science, Australian and international standards or best practice.


Efforts should ensure the expert panel operates in a clear and transparent manner.


The role of the expert panel members is to:

  • Provide independent expert advice to the Minister and Fisheries Queensland on the appropriateness and feasibility of fisheries management proposals and strategies including options to improve management;
  • Provide commentary on and review of species stock assessments and ecological risk assessments and the science that supports these activities;
  • Advise on fishery performance and strategies to improve performance;
  • Provide independent expert advice on sustainable limits and target and limit reference points for individual fisheries/species;
  • Provide expert commentary on the adequacy of proposed fishery harvest strategies including whether proposed approaches are likely to meet the relevant objectives and guidelines;
  • Provide independent expert advice on data, research and monitoring needs;
  • Provide independent expert fisheries economic advice as requested;
  • Provide linkages and advice to other relevant strategic advisory groups (e.g. Reef 2050 Advisory Committee) where needed;
  • Provide advice on other fisheries management issues as requested by the Minister or Fisheries Queensland.

The role of Fisheries Queensland will be to:

  • Provide secretariat functions for the panel
  • Provide a point of communication between the expert panel and the Director-General and Minister
  • Administer logistics and payment for panel meetings.

Appointment process

The responsible Minister is responsible for appointment of expert panel members.

The appointment process is in accordance with Significant Appointments of the Cabinet Handbook on the Department of the Premier and Cabinet's website.

All members are to provide a statement to confirm their suitability for appointment to the panel.


The operation of the expert panel will consist of regular meetings (up to 4 times a year).

Within reason, out-of-session advice and review of documents may be required.

Fisheries Queensland will facilitate regular meetings between the Chair and the responsible Minister to report on progress and obtain direction from the responsible Minister on priorities or areas of concern.

Secretariat and Communication

Fisheries Queensland will provide secretariat support as follows:

  • Arrange meeting times and technical support for meetings.
  • In consultation with the Chair, will prepare each meeting agenda.
  • The agenda and supporting papers will be provided at least seven (7) days prior to each meeting.
  • Record meeting outcomes and provide administrative support for meetings.

A summary of each meeting should be agreed to at each meeting to enable a communiqué to be made publicly available. The Secretariat will provide more detailed minutes to members following the meeting, which will be endorsed at the following meeting.


Fisheries Queensland will provide members with an agenda and supporting information seven (7) days prior to each meeting. This is to provide time for members to review supporting information ahead of the meeting.


A summary of each meeting should be agreed to at each meeting. Fisheries Queensland will issue a communiqué within two (2) days of each meeting. This is to assist with communication to other fishery stakeholders after the meeting.

Fisheries Queensland will provide more detailed meeting outcomes to members within two (2) weeks after each meeting. These are to be endorsed at the following meeting.

Annual Reporting

Details of the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel will be published in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) Annual Report under 'Government bodies: statutory bodies and other entities', in accordance with the requirements published in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet’s Annual report requirements for Queensland Government agencies.

Relationship to other groups

The role of the specific-fishery working groups is to provide operational advice to Fisheries Queensland on particular fisheries. The working groups will seek advice and recommendations from the expert panel on outputs from their work program (e.g harvest strategies) from time to time. Information exchange between the expert panel and the fishery-specific working groups will be coordinated through Fisheries Queensland.

Fisheries Queensland, who is responsible under the Fisheries Act 1994 for the day to day management of Queensland’s fisheries, will also seek advice and recommendations from the expert panel on underpinning policy, proposed management actions and implementation of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.

Obligations and responsibilities of members

Being a member has important obligations and responsibilities. Specifically, in accepting the appointment, members must be prepared to:

  1. Contribute knowledge of and experience in Queensland’s fisheries to decision makers.
  2. Provide advice to government consistent with its role.
  3. Constructively participate in discussions to achieve acceptable outcomes.
  4. Respect the views expressed by other members.
  5. Act in the best interests of fishery stakeholders as a whole, rather than as an advocate for any particular individual, organisation, interest group or regional interest.
  6. Avoid pursuing personal agendas or self-interest, and participate in discussion in an objective and impartial manner.
  7. Promptly advise of any conflict of interest issues that arise subsequent to initial appointment. Conflict of interest issues should be communicated as soon as they arise, by means of a letter from the Panel member to the Deputy Director-General, Fisheries Queensland.
  8. Advise Minister of any changes to your suitability for appointment (as disclosed in the Personal Particular Form). Changes to suitability for appointment should be communicated to the Minister by letter as soon as they arise.

Confidentiality and non-disclosure

Members must comply with the Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service, including the following requirements:

  • Observe confidentiality and exercise tact and discretion when dealing with sensitive issues. If a stakeholder member is concerned about the disclosure to non-members of an issue that they consider may be sensitive, the member should seek advice from the Chair.
  • At all times act honestly, exercise care and diligence in the discharge of their duties and not make improper use of inside information. Information is considered to be used improperly where, by using the information, a member gains an advantage either directly or indirectly (financial or otherwise) over another person or causes detriment to the project or to another person.
  • Not publish or communicate to any person, who they are not authorised to publish or communicate to, any fact or document which comes to their knowledge, or into their possession because they are a committee member and which (because of its confidential nature) it is their duty not to disclose.

Sitting fees

Participation on the expert panel will be remunerated in accordance with the published Remuneration for part-time Chairs and Members of Queensland Government Bodies.

Fees will be paid at the daily rate: $390 for a chairperson; $300 for a member.

Where meetings or approved additional work is less than four hours, 50% of the daily rate is paid.

The Chair is responsible for determining what reasonable additional work time is to be applied.

The category of remuneration for the Panel is 'Regulation, administration and advice – Level3' in accordance with the published Remuneration Procedures for part-time Chairs and Members of Queensland Government Bodies.

Fees will be paid daily, as the panel is expected to meet less than 6 times per year.

Regulation, Administration & Advice Level 3


Consultation, advisory and liaison activities Policy/operational advice with influence on a specific aspect of Government policy or a particular region
Where a board meets 6 times or less per year, the Minister may pay daily fees Chairperson – $390*
Member - $300*

*50% to be paid if work time is four hours or less. The remuneration entitlement is to be based on the total number of hours relating to a single meeting or the additional work performed to carry out their role (ie. to prepare for meetings, write reports or decisions, undertake consultation or carry out inspections). For example:

Total hours Chair/ Member total work time Remuneration entitilement
4  Regulation, administration and advice" category body
1 hour meeting preparation + 3 hour meeting
50% daily fee

The Chair is responsible for determining what reasonable additional work time for each meeting is.

Meetings and Travel costs

Chairs and members are eligible to be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses including domestic travel, accommodation costs, motor vehicle allowances and meals. Approved allowances are set out in the Remuneration Procedures for part-time Chairs and Members of Queensland Government Bodies.

A budget and travel approval form will be prepared for each meeting with appropriate Fisheries Queensland approvals obtained. Fisheries Queensland will pay directly for all travel and accommodation costs possible.

Where out-of-pocket expenses have been incurred, working group members will need to provide a tax receipt for each expense claimed so Fisheries Queensland can organise a reimbursement in accordance with government financial policies and procedures.


The responsible Minister will appoint members for a term of up to three (3) years, stated in the member’s letter of appointment. The responsible Minister will review membership at least six (6) months prior to appointment terms expiring.

There will be up to eight (8) members of the expert panel including an independent chair and members with expertise in:

  • stock assessment
  • fish biology
  • fisheries management / resource allocation
  • threatened species
  • economics and social science
  • Social and/or cultural matters

Members are appointed on the basis of their own individual expertise, knowledge and experience and not as representatives of any interest group.

Generally speaking the use of proxies will not be endorsed.

The presence of observers at meetings as well as the level of their participation in meetings will be at the discretion of the Chair and Fisheries Queensland.

The composition of the expert panel is in the table below.

Name Area of expertise
Prof. Suzanne Miller Independent Chair
Dr Cathy Dichmont Stock assessment expertise
Assoc. Prof. Ian Tibbetts Fish biology expertise
Mr Ian Cartwright Fisheries management/ resource allocation expertise
Assoc Prof. Daryl McPhee Fisheries management/ resource allocation expertise
Dr Michelle Heupel Threatened species expertise
Professor Natalie Stoeckl Environmental social science
Dr Sean Pascoe Economics and social science

Performance and review

Fisheries Queensland will be responsible for the continuous review of the structure and performance of working groups to ensure that are meeting their objectives. Where issues arise with the performance of either a working group, or specific working group member, those matters will be discussed with the Deputy Director-General (Fisheries & Forestry) as appropriate to resolve them.

Further information and resources

Members are recommended to familiarise themselves with "Welcome Aboard", the guideline for new members of government bodies. This guides new members on the effective and efficient performance of their duties.