Threatened List and Processes List
The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (the FFG Act) provides for the listing of taxa (genera, species, subspecies and varieties), threatened communities of flora and fauna and potentially threatening processes.
There are 3 lists:
- The Excluded List contains native flora and fauna taxa which are not to be conserved because they constitute a serious threat to human welfare (Note: the only item on this list is human disease organisms)
- The Threatened List contains taxa and communities of native flora and fauna which are threatened
- The Processes List contains potentially threatening processes.
Over 2,000 species, communities and threats are currently listed under the Act.
Recent changes to the FFG Act Threatened list
Previously, Victoria had multiple lists of threatened species - those listed under the FFG Act, and non-statutory lists called the Victorian Threatened Species Advisory Lists.
Recent amendments to the FFG Act have removed duplication by establishing a single comprehensive list of threatened flora and fauna species. This will continue to be known as the FFG Act Threatened List. With the new comprehensive list now in effect, the Advisory lists have been revoked.
The Conservation Status Assessment project has overseen the task of ensuring every species of flora and fauna on the FFG Act Threatened List has an assessment that is compliant with the common assessment method. Assessments will be made available to the public in the coming months and can be requested for particular species by emailing email@example.com.
Threatened Communities and Potentially Threatening Processes have not been reassessed.
What is the Scientific Advisory Committee?
The SAC is established under section 8 of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act), and its functions are:
(a) to advise the Minister for Environment 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 7 to 9 scientists from government, education or private sector backgrounds appointed by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. The majority are not Victorian Government employees. All members are knowledgeable and experienced in flora or fauna conservation or ecology. The convenor of the SAC is a non-government scientist.
Convenor - Dr Michelle Casanova – Principal, Charophyte Services
Michelle has a PhD in Botany and is Principal at Charophyte Services, a consultancy aimed at providing best practice, scientific research, information and assessment concerning water plants and wetlands. Michelle lives and works on a fine-wool merino and cropping farm near Lake Bolac. Michelle is recognised as an international expert in the algal family Characeae, and maintains her research interest through formal associations with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, the New York Botanic Garden and The Natural History Museum, London. Michelle was appointed to the Committee in 2018 and appointed as Convenor in 2020.
Professor David Cantrill – Executive Director Science, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
David is a terrestrial botanist whose research interest is in the evolutionary history of the Southern Hemisphere flora. He has extensive field experience in Antarctica, South America, southern Africa, New Zealand and Australia. He has previously been senior research scientist with the British Antarctic Survey (Cambridge, UK) and senior curator in the Department of Palaeobotany Swedish Museum of Natural History (Stockholm, Sweden). He is Chief Botanist and Director of the National Herbarium of Victoria at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and holds an honorary professorship at the University of Melbourne in the School of BioScience. Professor Cantrill is appointed as a member with expertise in the areas of vascular flora or communities of flora in terrestrial environments, and potentially threatening processes. David was appointed to the Committee in 2018.
Dr Matt Dell – independent Senior Consultant Botanist
Matt is an experienced botanist with expertise in the ecology and management of southeast Australia’s flora. His experience and research interests include bryophyte ecology, plant physiology and biodiversity policy. Matt has undertaken surveys widely across Victoria and elsewhere, including numerous assessments of impacts to threatened plants and ecological communities. His previous roles have included principal at leading consultancies, science panel member for a water authority, research supervisor, expert witness and technical reviewer for major projects in Victoria. Matt contributes his expertise on non-vascular plants, vascular plants, ecological communities and threatening processes. Matt was appointed to the Committee in 2018.
Dr Tim Jessop – Senior Lecturer, Deakin University
Tim is a senior lecturer within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at Deakin University. He is an integrative ecologist with 20 years of experience working on threatened vertebrates in marine and terrestrial ecosystems both in Australia and overseas. Tim studies the effects of environmental, ecological and anthropogenic disturbances on animal ecology. His primary research goal is to understand how natural and anthropogenic disturbance processes shape animal population and community dynamics. He is also interested in assessing the effectiveness of environmental management actions such as introduced predator control, protected area design and zonation for improving biodiversity outcomes of native vertebrates. Tim was appointed to the Committee in 2020.
Dr Pia Lentini - Senior Research Fellow, RMIT University
Pia is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University. Pia is a conservation scientist whose research explores questions around applied terrestrial wildlife management, and incorporates elements of urban ecology, biodiversity policy, movement ecology, conservation planning and human-wildlife conflict. Much of Pia’s research is carried out in collaboration with industry partners including local, state, and national government agencies and non-government organisations. Pia also sits on the Board of Management for Wildlife Victoria and was formerly a member of the Executive of the Australasian Bat Society. Pia was appointed to the Committee in 2020.
Mr Ian Smales – independent Principal Consultant Zoologist
Ian has worked for more than forty years in vertebrate zoology and natural resource management with the public and private sectors. He is Principal Zoologist with a large environmental consultancy. He has previously been a long-standing member of recovery teams for the Helmeted Honeyeater and the Orange-bellied Parrot. Ian’s Masters of Science thesis investigated the demography of the Helmeted Honeyeater, based on his 20-year study of the bird. More recently he was a member of the technical reference group for South-west Victorian Brolga Project. Ian has designed and managed large and long-term investigations including studies of migratory and resident shorebirds in Tasmania and Victoria; responses of birds and bats to wind energy, and of waterbirds to environmental water regimes in the Murray-Darling Basin. Ian has particular interest in the ecology and systematics of reptiles and amphibians and is working with international collaborators on aspects of the evolution of Gondwanan freshwater turtles. Ian was appointed to the Committee in 2020.
Dr Linda Thomson – Honorary Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
Linda held positions at La Trobe University before moving to Zoology at University of Melbourne in 2005, where she is currently an honorary research fellow at the Pest and Environmental Adaptation Research Group (PEARG). She has extensive research experience in biological monitoring, biodiversity assessment, and invertebrate conservation and ecology with particular interest in the role of invertebrates as indicators of environmental sustainability and in the control of pest species in agriculture. Linda is appointed as a member with expertise in the areas of invertebrate fauna in terrestrial environments and potentially threatening processes. Linda was appointed to the Committee in 2016.
Dr Susanna Venn – Senior Lecturer in Environmental Botany, Deakin University
Susanna is a plant ecologist with a wealth of research experience in the processes that shape alpine ecosystems. Her research focusses on how snow influences plant community patterns, (re)assembly and ecological processes. Susanna works at Deakin University as a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Botany and leads the eXtreme Plant Ecology Research Team in the Centre for Integrative Ecology. Susanna was appointed to the Committee in 2018.
Dr Barbara Wilson – Associate Professor, Deakin University
During her career in academia, government and private industry Barbara has developed considerable knowledge and experience in ecological research, environmental management, and government policy. As Associate Professor (Deakin University, Victoria, Murdoch University, Western Australia) she has led highly productive research teams focused on understanding Australian ecosystems. Major research fields include ecology, reproduction of native fauna, effects of fire on native mammals, status of endangered species, impacts of Phytophthora cinnamomi on biodiversity and the sustainability of underground aquifers. Barbara held leadership roles in Government Environment agencies, and has extensive experience contributing to policy development as a member of Federal and State advisory bodies including conservation legislation, forestry, National Parks, fire and land management. Barbara’s international appointments include Visiting Fellow, Yale University, USA and Visiting Professor, University of Gottingen, Germany. Barbara was appointed to the Committee in 2020.
For further information on any recommendations of the SAC, please contact the SAC Secretary as follows:
Secretary, Scientific Advisory Committee
c/o Environment and Community Programs Branch (Lvl 2)
Environment and Climate Change Group
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
PO Box 500 EAST MELBOURNE VIC 8002
Preliminary recommendations of the SAC open for public comment
Preliminary recommendations inform the public of the SAC’s assessment of nominations. There are currently no preliminary recommendations open for public comment.
Final recommendations of the SAC
The following recommendation arose from the Committee's meeting in June 2021. Please note: PDF versions provided below are the official signed documents of the SAC.
The SAC has made the final recommendation that the following item be specified on the Threatened List under the FFG Act
Notice of Decision
In accordance with section 16G of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and the Minister for Agriculture have considered the recent recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee and have decided to recommend to the Governor in Council the following:
- Australian Sea-lion (Neophoca cinerea) be specified in the Threatened List as 'Endangered' in Australia
- Invasion of native vegetation habitat by Karamu (Coprosma robusta) (potentially threatening process) not be added to the Threatened List
Characteristics of Victorian threatened communities
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 FFG 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.
Nominating a species, community or threatening process for listing
Members of the public or organisations can make nominations for the SAC to consider for listing. You may also nominate an already listed taxon for reassessment.
When the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) makes a recommendation regarding a nomination in accordance with the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (the Act), a report is prepared outlining that the nomination should either be supported or not be supported and a summary of the evidence supporting it. These reports form the basis for public submissions, in the case of preliminary recommendations, or for the Minister's decision, in the case of final recommendations.
More information on how to nominate is provided on the Nominating an item page.
The Commonwealth and most state and territory governments, including Victoria, have signed an intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deliver a Common Assessment Method (CAM) for assessing the conservation status of all Australian threatened species.
The CAM establishes a consistent approach to assessing and listing threatened species. Assessments are based on International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria and conform to standards developed by a national Working Group representing all jurisdictions. Under the CAM, each state or territory will have a single operational list of threatened species.
Note: Under the CAM, “species” is a general term that includes species, subspecies, varieties and hybrids, referred to as “taxa” in the assessment documentation.
From 2018 to 2021, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) undertook the Conservation Status Assessment (CSA) project to re-assess the conservation status of the over 2,000 plants, animals and fungi that were considered to be rare or threatened in Victoria.
The purpose of the project was to consolidate the previous multiple lists of threatened species into a single Threatened List under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act) in Victoria. This included species listed as:
- nationally threatened under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act);
- threatened under the Victorian FFG Act;
- rare or threatened within DELWP’s Advisory Lists – the Advisory List of Threatened Invertebrate Fauna in Victoria – 2009; the Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna – 2013; and the Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Plants in Victoria – 2014.
Species were excluded from the assessments if they:
- were not already FFG-listed and were not categorised as threatened on DELWP’s Advisory Lists i.e. species that were included as ‘near threatened’, ‘data deficient’ or ‘poorly known’;
- had unconfirmed taxonomy;
- had been more recently regarded as not occurring in Victoria; or
- had already been assessed under the CAM at the national level and were therefore eligible for inclusion and did not require re-assessment.
The FFG Threatened List represents Victoria’s single operational list of threatened species. The List contains the scientific name and common name of each species, its extinction risk in Australia or Victoria and the category of threat (i.e. conservation status – Extinct, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, and for fish only, Conservation Dependent).
A threatened species is at risk of extinction in Australia if it:
- is EPBC-listed and is compliant with the conditions of the CAM; or
- does not have a CAM-compliant EPBC listing but is endemic to Victoria.
A species is at risk of extinction in Victoria if it:
- is listed under the EPBC Act but the national assessment was not CAM-compliant; or
- it has been assessed as not threatened nationally but is threatened in Victoria; or
- it has not had a national assessment.
The new Threatened list of 1,993 species, published in June 2021, consists of 49 mammals, 104 birds, 40 reptiles, 15 amphibians, 37 fish, 124 invertebrates, 1,556 vascular plants, 60 non-vascular plants and 8 fungi and lichens.
Note – three species that were previously listed under the FFG Act but were not assessed as part of this process remain listed, under the general category of Threatened in Victoria.
Eleven species were removed from the Threatened List. Four were assessed as not threatened, based on new information. Three are species that are no longer considered native to Victoria. Four had invalid taxonomy, which means they are no longer recognised as a species.
Each species is assessed against the IUCN criteria, including the population extent and number, degree of decline and ongoing and future threats. A species may be assessed as threatened based on one or more of these criteria. The highest category of threat that a species is assessed against will apply.
Under the FFG Act if the conservation status of a listed species requires changing, or for species to be added to the list, they must have a CAM compliant assessment. EPBC-listed species that do not have a CAM compliant assessment are termed “legacy” species. In Victoria, the CSA project assessed species only in Victoria and the assessment therefore applies only to their status in Victoria. This can be different to the EPBC listing status. Over time all the legacy species will be re-assessed under the CAM by the Commonwealth. This means that during this transition period, some species will be listed under different categories under the FFG Act and EPBC Act as the status of a species under a non-CAM compliant EPBC listing may be different from its CAM-compliant Victorian status.
Federally, a species’ EPBC status applies for any processes or regulations under that legislation. Once the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment undertakes a CAM compliant national assessment, Victoria will then be required to adopt their status under the FFG Act, as per the CAM MoU.
Some EPBC-listed species met the criteria for a higher category when assessed at the Victorian scale, but under the CAM, can only be listed with their national status (as long as it is CAM-compliant). For example, a species with a CAM compliant national assessment and listed under the EPBC Act as Vulnerable, may be considered Endangered within its Victorian range, but will be listed as Vulnerable on the FFG Threatened List. However, action statements will be prepared for these species describing threats and management actions relevant in Victoria and not based on their national status.
A significant number of taxa were upgraded from a lower conservation status to a higher one, particularly among the plants. There are several reasons for this:
- Most of the changes relate to flora, as the criteria for assessment have substantially changed. DELWP’s Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Plants did not have a ‘Critically Endangered’ category and the FFG Threatened List does not have a ‘Rare’ category. Many species previously listed as Endangered, Vulnerable or Rare, were subsequently assessed as Critically Endangered. This does not mean that for many of these species that their status has worsened.
- There is better information. While DELWP’s Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Plants was updated in 2014, most of the information was based on 2005 data. Further data has been collected providing a better picture of the status of species and in many cases, conditions may have changed in the intervening years.
- Consideration of climate effects was not properly considered in the older lists. Climate change-induced drying, warming and more frequent bushfires pose significant threats for many species.
- The bushfires of 2019 and 2020 had serious impacts on the habitat of a number of species, and on the species themselves. The full impacts are still to be assessed in the field for many species, though for some species fire area and fire severity mapping indicated the likelihood of impacts. Species regarded as fire sensitive were reconsidered and some were upgraded to a higher status, based on increased past or predicted future decline.
- Under the IUCN criteria, past and future declines are based on three generations, so for very long-lived species, e.g. large Eucalypts, consideration of decline can extend to pre-European settlement. These declines can place a species into a higher category than previously assessed.
A small number of species were downgraded from a higher conservation status. Forty-nine were reduced to Near Threatened (NT), Data Deficient (DD) or Least Concern (LC) and were not included in the List. The reasons for this are:
- There is better information. Some species are more numerous or widely distributed than previously thought.
- Some historic declines can’t be considered under the IUCN criteria. Past and/or future decline are calculated based on either three generations or ten years, whichever is longer. Therefore, species that have short generation times, e.g. annual plants, some amphibians, small birds and mammals, declines are only considered for up to ten years into the past or future. For species that had in the past experienced significant declines, these could not be taken into account, This means a species with a relatively broad distribution and a total population size exceeding the IUCN thresholds, though the numbers may be substantially fewer, will be assessed as LC.
- Some species (almost entirely invertebrates) were previously regarded as threatened because there were very few records. However, for some species this was a result of incidental observations with no targeted surveys, and their small size and often cryptic habit. In cases where there was inadequate evidence to determine numbers, distribution or declines, they were assessed as DD. Further data collected on these species in the future would mean they may be nominated for inclusion in the FFG Threatened List.
There are likely to be only minor implications for regulation, investment programs and public land management. All the items that were assessed were either already FFG-listed or listed as rare or threatened on the published Advisory Lists.
- Vertebrate fauna species are already protected under the Wildlife Act 1975, but there are higher penalties for taking threatened wildlife i.e. fauna listed under the FFG Act.
- FFG-listed plants, and those declared protected by Governor-in-Council (GiC) Order are protected on public land. Major groups of plants (e.g. all orchids, almost all acacias, daisies and ferns) are protected by GiC Order, so only a few additional plants will become protected, and two will become unprotected.
- Processes such as forest management planning and strategic bushfire management planning have also used the Advisory Lists in addition to the FFG Threatened List for information on taxa of conservation concern, so most threatened species have already been considered.
- Except through some processes, such as Victoria’s native vegetation clearing regulations where they will continue to be used during a transition period, DELWP’s three Advisory Lists have been retired.
The Guidelines for the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation are incorporated into all planning schemes in Victoria and refer to the Advisory Lists. These will continue to apply for the purposes of regulating native vegetation clearing in Victoria during a transition period. Queries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page last updated: 29/07/21