Fisheries Business Growth Package FAQs


When will the Fisheries Business Growth Package applications open?

Applications for this round will open on 4 July 2016.  The round will close when all the available funds have been exhausted.  A notice will be placed on the TSRA website when this is about to occur.

What type of fishing industry businesses can apply?

  • Commercial fishers and fishing businesses for example (wild harvest) Tropical Rock Lobster, Beche de Mer, Finfish
  • seafood processors
  • aquaculture

What does ‘commercially-viable’ mean?

‘Commercially-viable’ refers to the ability of a business, product or service to compete effectively and make a profit (without permanent ongoing government support).

What does ‘value-added’ mean?

Value-adding refers to ‘extra’ features of a product or service. It means more ‘value’ is created in the product or service and more of that value is retained in the local community (for example, selling live crayfish instead of the tails).

What is ‘economic development’?

Economic development is about growing the Torres Strait Region’s income and wealth and distributing that wealth to the communities through business creation and employment. It involves Indigenous people in employment, business, asset and wealth creation in the communities and regions where they live.

What does ‘financial sustainability’ and ‘financial viability’ mean?

These two terms mean to the same thing, which is the ability of a business to generate sufficient income to meet business operating expenses, debt commitments and where applicable, to allow for profit and growth.

We’re an existing business wanting some help to restructure, but we don’t need any money. Is the Fisheries Business Growth Package funding and support for us?

No. In this case you might like to check out the Business Product Selector tool on the TSRA website to see what other products and support is available.  If you need help with this, you should contact us at

What does ‘Entrepreneur’ mean?

An Entrepreneur is someone who starts up and runs a business to make a profit, taking on financial risk to do so. You can learn more at

What does ‘finance ready’ mean?

For a business to be finance ready, it will need to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of a lender, that the business proposal is or has good prospects for commercial viability and financial sustainability. Individual lenders such as banks will have their own criteria and procedures for determining whether or not a business proposal is finance ready.

What is collateral?

‘Collateral’ refers to security offered by a borrower to a lender for the payment of a loan. Collateral can take a number of forms, for example, the borrower’s house or other assets, which would be forfeited (lost) by the borrower in the event of a default on (failure to repay) the loan.

What is an unincorporated body?

An unincorporated body refers to a business that does not possess a separate legal identity from its owner(s). The owner(s) bear full liability for any action or inaction of the business: they may sue and be sued for business activity or inactivity. Unincorporated enterprises include sole proprietorships, partnerships and family trusts.

What is an incorporated body?

An incorporated body is a legally declared corporate entity in its own right that is separate from its owners and which continues regardless of changes to its ownership or membership. Incorporation under Australian legislation is under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 or the Corporations Act 2001.

What is a partnership?

A partnership is an arrangement in which two or more people pool their money, skills and other resources, and share profit and loss of a business venture in accordance with the terms of the partnership agreement. Various arrangements are possible. For example, all individuals involved in the partnership (the partners) might share liabilities and profits equally, or some partners may have limited liability.

What is a consortium?

A consortium is a group of individuals, businesses, investors or organisations joining together as one for a common purpose such as the establishment of a new business venture (joint venture).

What is a joint venture?

A joint venture (JV) is a contractual business arrangement between two or more individuals or organisations without actual partnership or incorporation meaning each party to the joint venture retains their distinct legal identities.

What is the definition of a small business?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines small business as a business that employs fewer than 20 people.  Categories of small business include:

  • Non-employing businesses (sole Proprietorships and partnerships without employees)
  • Micro-businesses (businesses employing between 1 and 4 people including non-employing businesses)
  • Other small businesses (businesses that employ between 5 and 19 employees)

Small businesses are more likely to have independent ownership and be operated independently.  Owners or managers of small businesses tend to have close control of operations, undertake principal decision making and contribute most of the operating capital.

How is ‘funding’ different to ‘financing’?

‘Funding’ is the act of providing financial resources, either in the form of money or other in-kind values such as effort or time, to finance a program or project, usually by an organisation or government.

‘Financing’ on the other hand refers to the act of providing money for business activities, making purchases or investing. Financial institutions and banks are in the business of financing as they provide capital to businesses and investors to help them achieve their goals.

We want to establish an Indigenous community-run social enterprise. Should we apply?

No. The Fisheries Business Growth Package is not available for not-for-profit organisations. However, your organisation may be eligible for support through other TSRA Programmes such as Healthy and Safe Communities and Culture, Art and Heritage common funding rounds.  You may also be eligible for other government and non-government programmes such as the Community Development Programme or Indigenous Enterprise Funding delivered by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Information on these and other programmes is available on the TSRA website As a first step you are encouraged to complete the TSRA online Business Product Selector tool.  If you need help with this, you should contact us at

I have a great idea but no previous experience running a business. Should I apply for funding?

If you are unsure, as a first step you are encouraged to complete the TSRA online Business Product Selector tool on the TSRA website  If you need help with this, you should contact us at

If you haven’t run a business, but have experience in the fishing industry, or have worked in a general business environment, or have experience from other activities you have undertaken, the TSRA may be able to assist you to progress your idea through the TSRA ‘Into Business’ Workshops. The workshops are designed to help you to develop your business beyond the idea stage to a well-researched business proposal.

I don’t have a business plan. Will development of a business plan be funded?

A business plan can be very simple so you may already have enough information to put something together.   If you need assistance to develop a business plan, as a first step you are encouraged to complete the TSRA online Business Product Selector tool.  If you need help with this, you should contact us at

I think I need some training to do my business payroll and invoicing. Can training be funded?

Training may be included in the package of support services offered to successful applicants.

I don’t want a loan. Can I get a small grant to start up my business?

No, not through the Fisheries Business Growth Package.  However, you may be eligible for grant funding through other products. As a first step you are encouraged to complete the TSRA online Business Product Selector tool on the TSRA website to see what other products and services are available. If you need help with this, you should contact us at

Are there any GST or income tax-related issues involved in receiving funding?

Yes. If you receive a grant/loan package, the Funding Agreement for the grant component will outline the taxes (including GST), duties and government charges for which you will be responsible.

I just want a small amount of money to buy a few tools to help me become self-employed. Can the funding be used for this?

If the amount of money you need is quite small (less than $20,000), we may refer you to a micro-finance lender. Micro-finance lenders specialise in lending to very small businesses (typically from one to four employees), and provide tailored support before, during and after the loan has been approved. Check out our website for further information about how the TSRA can assist you with access to micro-finance lenders such as the National Australia Bank. If you need help with this, you should contact us at

I have a really good relationship with a business consultant. Can I choose this consultant to help me develop my business?

If you already have a mentor, consultant or business advisor, and you want to continue working with them, let us know. We might also ask you to consider another advisor, because sometimes fresh ideas can really help a business move to the next level or open up your business networks.

What if my preferred lender isn’t interested in giving me a loan for my business idea?

We will make sure your business proposal undergoes a commercial viability assessment. If your preferred commercial lender declines to review your application, we will review your application for a TSRA business loan.

I’m not Indigenous but I would really like assistance to set up a business and employ local Indigenous people. Is the funding for me?

No. The Business Growth Package funding is only available for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people residing in the Torres Strait Region. You may wish to consider partnering with a Torres Strait Islander and/or Aboriginal entrepreneur or business, bearing in mind that the business must be at least fifty per cent Torres Strait Islander and/or Aboriginal owned.  You may also be eligible for other products and services, check out our website to see what’s available.  If you need help with this, you should contact us at

I am a successful business consultant. Can I get funding to support the development of Indigenous businesses in the Torres Strait Region?

No. Business support services for businesses will be procured by the TSRA. The TSRA has established a business support services panel to facilitate the procurement of these services.

We’re an Indigenous organisation looking to set up an enterprise in our community. We have a non-Indigenous private sector partner who will be contributing funding and in-kind assistance. Can we receive funding and support too?

You can receive funding as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. To be eligible for the Fisheries Business Growth Package, your enterprise must be for-profit and have commercial potential, and funding must represent value-for-money for the TSRA. To help us assess value for money, you should outline how much assistance or funding your partner is proposing to give you and why you require additional support from the TSRA. We may work with you and your partner to get more information or try to facilitate more private sector support for your application.

What does ‘value for money’ mean?

Value for money is a term used to assess whether or not the TSRA, in delivering the products and services it provides, will obtain the maximum benefit possible within the resources available to it, to achieve stated economic development policy and strategy objectives in line with the Torres Strait Development Plan, 2014-2018.

I am submitting my application in hard copy. What do I need to do?

When submitting a hard copy Application, you must print off the online Application Form, complete it, and submit two unbound copies to the address at the front of the Application Kit. If you require more space for the written responses, please attach additional pages.

In the Application Form, the authorised person who is completing the form and filling in the

Declaration should sign their name under the box labelled: “Position of Authorised Officer”.

Can TSRA staff help me prepare my application?

Staff in the TSRA are available to answer any queries you have on the application or the funding, however they cannot help you with financial or business planning.

I am finding it hard to answer the questions on the form because I don’t have many answers yet. Should I bother applying?

If you are unsure, you should check out the Business Product Selector tool available on the TSRA website  If you need help with this, you should contact us at and we will help you work out if you are ready to apply. It may be that you would benefit from undertaking the TSRA ‘Into Business’ Workshops as a first step, this will put you in a better position to answer the questions.

Who should I contact if I need more information?

As a first step you might like to check out our website, if you still need more information, you can send your enquiry to