The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act) is the key piece of Victorian legislation for the conservation of threatened species and communities and for the management of potentially threatening processes.
The Act’s objectives aim to conserve all of Victoria’s native plants and animals.
The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Amendment Act 2019
Amendments to the FFG Act were recently passed by the Victorian Parliament, and have received Royal Assent from the Governor of Victoria.
What does the Amendment Act do?
The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Amendment Act 2019 (the Amendment Act) will amend the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 to provide for a modern and strengthened framework for the protection of Victoria’s biodiversity.
The Amendment Act:
- retains the FFG Act’s objective to ‘guarantee’ the future of Victoria’s flora and fauna and updates it to recognise the importance of flora and fauna adapting to environmental change;
- introduces principles to guide the implementation of the FFG Act, including consideration of the rights and interests of Traditional Owners and the impacts of climate change;
- requires consideration of biodiversity across government to ensure decisions and policies are made with proper consideration of the potential impacts on biodiversity;
- clarifies existing powers to determine critical habitat and improves their protection by encouraging cooperative management;
- gives effect to a consistent national approach to assessing and listing threatened species, the Common Assessment Method, which will reduce duplication of effort between jurisdictions and facilitate the monitoring and reporting of species’ conservation status; and
- modernises the FFG Act’s enforcement framework including stronger penalties.
Context of the Amendment Act
The Amendment Act is the outcome of a comprehensive review of the FFG Act led by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
The review identified a range of reforms, which lead to the development and introduction into parliament of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Amendment Bill 2019.
The development of the Bill, and subsequent passage delivered on the Government’s 2014 commitment to review the FFG Act.
The review of the FFG Act was informed by extensive stakeholder engagement across government and with Traditional Owners, industry, environmental nongovernment organisations and the broader community.
A public consultation paper was released in early 2017 and 210 written submissions were received. DELWP subsequently released a report summarising the submissions.
The amendments will take effect on 1 June 2020. The FFG Act continues to apply in its current form until that time.
DELWP is developing a range of instruments to support the implementation of the reforms, including the preparation of new regulations, ministerial guidelines, templates and procedures.
The Bill as passed by Parliament, the Explanatory Memorandum, and the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change’s Second Reading Speech are available from the Victorian Parliament website.
More information about the review of the Act, including the public consultation paper and submission summary are available from the Engage Victoria website.
Scientific Advisory Committee
The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) is established under section 8 of the Act, and its functions are:
(a) to advise the Minister on the listing of taxa or communities of flora and fauna and potentially threatening processes;
(b) to advise the Minister on any other flora and fauna conservation matters.
The SAC consists of seven scientists appointed by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, and come from government, education or private sector backgrounds. The majority are not Victorian Government employees. All members are knowledgeable and experienced in flora or fauna conservation or ecology.
Discover more about the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act
The flora and fauna conservation and management objectives, as outlined under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, are:
- to guarantee that all taxa of Victoria's flora and fauna …. can survive, flourish and retain their potential for evolutionary development in the wild
- to conserve Victoria's communities of flora and fauna
- to manage potentially threatening processes
- to ensure that any use of flora or fauna by humans is sustainable
- to ensure that the genetic diversity of flora and fauna is maintained
- to provide programs:
- of community education in the conservation of flora and fauna
- to encourage co-operative management of flora and fauna through, amongst other things, the entering into of land management co-operative agreements under the Conservation, Forests and Lands Act 1987
- of assisting and giving incentives to people, including landholders, to enable flora and fauna to be conserved
- to encourage the conserving of flora and fauna through co-operative community endeavours.
Sections 17 and 18 of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 provide for the preparation and revision of a Flora and Fauna Guarantee Strategy. The Strategy must set out how the flora and fauna conservation and management objectives are to be achieved. It must include proposals for guaranteeing the survival, abundance and evolutionary development in the wild of all taxa and communities of flora and fauna, ensuring the proper management of potentially threatening processes and an education program, and improving the ability of all relevant people to meet the flora and fauna conservation and management objectives.
The Strategy may allow for particular needs in particular areas and must have regard to the need for efficiency and effectiveness and to the need to achieve the flora and fauna conservation and management objectives with the minimum adverse social and economic impact and to the rights and interests of landholders.
On 20 April 2017, the Victorian Government released a new FFG strategy titled Protecting Victoria's Environment - Biodiversity 2037.
The previous Flora and Fauna Guarantee Strategy was published in 1997, under the title "Victoria's Biodiversity Strategy".
The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 provides for the establishment and maintenance of three lists:
- The Excluded List, containing native flora and fauna taxa which are not to be conserved because they constitute a serious threat to human welfare; the only item on this list is "human disease organisms",
- The Threatened List, containing taxa and communities of native flora and fauna which are threatened, and
- The Processes List, containing potentially threatening processes.
The Listing Process commences with the submission of a nomination. Any person may make a nomination. The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Regulations 2011 specify the prescribed information which must be provided in a nomination.
A nomination may be made to add or remove an item from the Threatened List or the Processes List (the Excluded List is maintained without the need for nominations). We also provided templates for nominations and a list of useful references.
The nomination is considered by the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), an expert advisory committee comprising seven scientists, a majority of whom are not Victorian Government employees. The Committee determines whether the nomination is for a valid item and assesses whether the item satisfies one or more of the FFG-listing criteria
The Committee prepares a preliminary recommendation in regard to each nomination, stating whether or not the nomination satisfies the listing criteria and is therefore supported or rejected by the Committee. This preliminary recommendation is then advertised and made available to the public for comment for a minimum period of 30 days.
The Committee then reconsiders the nomination in light of any further evidence provided during the public comment period and makes a final recommendation. The final recommendation is then forwarded to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and the Minister for Agriculture, together with any comments from the Victorian Catchment Management Council.
Upon receiving the Committee's final recommendation, the Ministers have 30 days in which to decide whether to recommend to the Governor-in-Council that the item be listed or delisted, as the case may be. If listing or delisting proceeds, it is effected by a Governor-in-Council Order. The process is complete when the Order is published in the Victorian Government Gazette.
The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 provides for the listing of taxa (genera, species, subspecies, varieties) and communities of flora and fauna which are threatened (the Threatened List), and potentially threatening processes (the Processes List).
View or download the latest lists:
The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Regulations 2011 (FFG Regulations) were made on 6 December 2011 under section 69 of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act).
The key elements of the Regulations are:
Schedule 1 - Listing Criteria
Schedule 1 of the Regulations details the criteria for determining eligibility for listing. It includes the criteria established by the FFG Act (primary criteria) as well as the guidelines for eligibility established by the Scientific Advisory Committee (sub-criteria).
Schedule 2 - Prescribed Information for nominations
Schedule 2 specifies the prescribed information which the FFG Act requires to be provided with a nomination.
Schedule 3 - Forms
Schedule 3 contains forms that will be used for notices, applications and certificates under the FFG Act.
View or download the FFG Regulations 2011
To view or download the latest version of the FFG Regulations 2011, go to the Victorian Law Today website.
The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) has produced a set of descriptions of Victorian Threatened Communities. The purpose of the descriptions is to help field recognition of the various communities of flora and fauna currently listed as 'threatened' under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.
The descriptions are based on final recommendation reports produced by the SAC. They include the location of the community in Victoria and details of the plant and animal species that occur in each community.
Page last updated: 26/09/19