What is protected flora?

Protected flora are native plants that have legal protection under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act).

The protected flora list includes plants from 3 sources:

  1. Plant taxa (species, subspecies or varieties) listed as threatened under the FFG Act
  2. Plant taxa belonging to communities listed as threatened under the FFG Act
  3. Plant taxa which are not threatened but require protection for other reasons. For example, some species which are attractive or highly sought after, such as orchids and grass trees, are protected so that the removal of these species from the wild can be controlled.

Swainsona reticulata

Changes to protected flora

The FFG Amendment Act 2019 introduces changes to the categories of protected flora, the way they are regulated, and the penalties associated with their protection.

With the creation of the ‘restricted use protected flora’ category under the amended FFG Act, the current protected flora list will be reviewed. For the moment, all current protected flora will remain as ‘generally protected flora’ until this review is complete.

Changes to protected flora regulation

The amended FFG Act creates two categories of protected flora; ‘restricted use protected flora’, and all other protected flora (referred to as ‘generally protected flora’).

These categories have separate controls in place regarding how people interact with them, and separate penalties if people don’t adhere to them.

Restricted use protected flora’ are those flora that are exclusively threatened by take* for commercial or personal use (e.g. not at risk from other activities). Take for other reasons (e.g. take incidental to track maintenance etc.) isn’t restricted as long as reasonable care is taken not to impact the taxon.

*Take means to kill, injure, disturb or collect

Generally protected flora’ refers to all other protected flora that are threatened by take for all other reasons (e.g. development, infrastructure maintenance works, etc.) and can include those species at risk of both commercial/personal take and incidental take.

A licence or permit is required under the Act for the take, trade, keeping or movement of:

  • ‘restricted use protected flora’ if those activities are for the purpose of sale or personal use;
  • ‘generally protected flora’ for any purpose.

There are some circumstances in which a licence/permit is not required, these are if:

  • the member of protected flora was taken from private land and the person is the landowner or a person given permission by the landowner AND it was not taken for the purposes of sale
  • the member of protected flora was lawfully propagated
  • the person was acting in accordance with a Governor in Council Order
  • the member of protected flora was accidentally taken despite reasonable care being exercised to not take the member
  • the person is a public authority acting in accordance with a Public Authority Management Agreement (generally protected flora only).

There are currently 4 orders which authorise the taking of protected flora subject to the terms and conditions outlined in the orders:

A person may take, trade in, keep, move or process protected flora from private land except for:

  1. flora from a critical habitat. The order also outlines the conditions for trading tree ferns and grass trees.
  2. tree-ferns, grasstrees or sphagnum moss taken for the purpose of sale

See order here

A person may take protected flora in State forest and Crown land where that taking is a result of, or incidental to, forest produce (including timber) harvesting operations or associated road works authorised under the Forests Act 1958 or timber harvesting operations authorised under the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2004.

See order here

A person may take protected flora where extractive industry is the subject of an Environmental Effects Statement, where Ministerial consent has already been given for searching on restricted Crown land and extraction on any Crown land, and more generally if certain conditions are met.

See order here

A person may take protected flora on private or Crown land as a result of works authorised by an Exploration or Mining licence issued under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 if certain conditions are met.

See order here

Protected flora permit

If you intend to handle protected flora, then the protected flora controls apply to you. If the proposed handling has not been authorised by a governor in council order (GIC), you will require a protected flora permit.

For example, the following activities require a protected flora permit.

  1. Taking protected flora from land that is not private land.
  2. Taking tree ferns, grasstrees or sphagnum moss from private or public land for the purpose of sale (where the tree ferns, grasstrees or sphagnum moss have not been propagated from flora which has been lawfully obtained and kept).

If there is any doubt as to whether or not a protected flora permit is required, contact us for further advice.

Authorisations under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988

Application for Permit to Take Protected Flora  (PDF, 104.2 KB)
Application for Permit to Take Protected Flora (DOCX, 278.7 KB)

Application for Tags to be Fixed to Imported or Cultivated Tree-Ferns or Grasstrees  (PDF, 106.3 KB)
Application for Tags to be Fixed to Imported or Cultivated Tree-Ferns or Grasstrees  (DOCX, 434.9 KB)

Authorisations under the National Parks Act 1975

Application for a Permit to Conduct Research in National Parks (PDF, 97.2 KB)
Application for a Permit to Conduct Research in National Parks  (DOCX, 270.3 KB)

If you require assistance with completing these forms, please contact us.

Overview of listed fish

In Victoria, the taking, trading in and keeping of fish listed on the Threatened List is regulated under both the Fisheries Act 1995 and the FFG Act.

Under section 52 of the FFG Act, it is an offence to take, trade in or keep listed fish without a licence or unless authorised by order published in the Government Gazette. The FFG (Taking, Trading in or Keeping of Listed Fish) Order No. 1/2020 authorises the taking, trading in and keeping of several species of listed fish, subject to terms and conditions. Restrictions may apply to the size and number of fish that can be caught, location, time of year and method of take, to ensure the level of take is sustainable. The order permits the taking of the following listed fish in accordance with the conditions set out in the order:

Flat-headed Gudgeon or Bull-headed Gudgeon (Philypnodongrandiceps)

Freshwater Catfish (Tandanus tandanus)

Golden Perch (Macquaria ambigua)

Macquarie Perch (Macquaria australasica)

Murray Cod(Maccullochella peelii)

Murray Spiny Freshwater Crayfish (Euastacus armatus)

Silver Perch (Bidyanus bidyanus)

Southern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyii)

Trout Cod (Maccullochella macquariensis)

Western Carp Gudgeon (Hypseleotris kluzingeri)

Applying for a listed fish permit

If you wish to conduct research on protected fish outside of the conditions of the FFG order, you will require a listed fish permit.

Authorisations under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988

Application for Permit to Conduct Research on Listed Fish (PDF, 96.7 KB)
Application for Permit to Conduct Research on Listed Fish (accessible)(DOCX, 274.7 KB)

Authorisations under the National Parks Act 1975

Application for a Permit to Conduct Research in National Parks (PDF, 97.2 KB)
Application for a Permit to Conduct Research in National Parks (accessible) (DOCX, 270.3 KB)

If you require assistance with completing these forms, please contact us.

Page last updated: 10/07/20