Flora and Fauna Guarantee listing criteria

The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 lays down basic rules for determining eligibility for listing. Section 11 of the Act establishes the primary criteria as follows:

"(1) A taxon or community of flora or fauna is eligible to be listed if it is in a demonstrable state of decline which is likely to result in extinction or if it is significantly prone to future threats which are likely to result in extinction."

"(2) A taxon of flora or fauna which is below the level of sub-species and a community of flora or fauna which is narrowly defined because of its taxonomic composition, environmental conditions or geography is only eligible for listing if in addition to the requirements of sub-section (1) there is a special need to conserve it."

"(3) A potentially threatening process is eligible for listing if, in the absence of appropriate management, it poses or has the potential to pose a significant threat to the evolutionary development of a range of flora and fauna."

Detailed listing criteria have been developed by the Scientific Advisory Committee and are set out in the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Regulations 2011. The SAC's detailed criteria must be based on the primary criteria in the Act. The SAC's criteria cannot limit or extend this eligibility, but describe what must be taken into account by the SAC when making recommendations. The aims of the criteria are to:

  • clarify and elaborate on the conditions for eligibility as stated in Section 11 of the Act; (e.g. break them up into component parts)
  • set conditions for determining validity (ie. whether the item is real and distinct)
  • assist nominators by establishing the levels of evidence that must be provided
  • indicate how much discretion is to be exercised by the SAC
  • ensure that the SAC is consistent in its making of recommendations.

The Flora and Fauna Guarantee applies to all organisms, with a wide range of different biological characteristics and conservation problems. The listing criteria have been written in general terms to ensure that they can be easily applied to all cases. The SAC must consider each nomination on a case-by-case basis, assessing information, exercising scientific judgment and discretion and making recommendations where there is no easy formula.

The Act provides definitions for terms such as "community", "fauna", "flora", "potentially threatening process", "taxon" and "wild".

Schedule 1 of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Regulations includes the detailed listing criteria applied by the Scientific Advisory Committee in making its recommendations. To view or download the latest version of the FFG Regulations 2011, go to the  Victorian Law Today website.