Nominating items for the Flora and Fauna Guarantee List (FFG Act List)

Any person or organisation can nominate an item to the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) for addition to or deletion from the FFG Act Threatened List or the Processes List.

You may also nominate an already listed taxon for reassessment. You may wish to do this if you consider and can provide evidence that the taxon is eligible to be listed in a higher category of threat, or that it is no longer eligible to be in a higher category of threat but is eligible in a lower category of threat. For example, upon a reassessment a taxon could move from the endangered to the critically endangered category or vice versa.

Nomination and listing process

Any person or organisation, including the SAC, can make a nomination for a species to be listed or removed from the list under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act). The SAC oversees an assessment of all nominations and amendments.  A preliminary recommendation is then published for public comments for 30 days. After this, the SAC makes a final recommendation to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. The Minister will then make and publicise a decision.

Orange-bellied Parrot

Before you nominate

It’s recommended that you check that your item for nomination hasn’t already been listed by looking at the currently listed taxa, community and threatening processes and the EPBC list of listed taxa.

If it’s not already listed, it may have been recently assessed by the Conservation Status Assessment project team and be open for public comment. You should check the Conservation Status Assessment Project page to see what has recently been assessed.

Note: The Conservation Status Assessment Project is reassessing the status of all plant and animal species that are currently considered to be rare or threatened in Victoria using the common assessment method (CAM). There have been no changes to communities or potentially threatening processes.

We are currently updating our supporting documents for nominating species. If you wish to make a nomination before this is complete, please contact the SAC secretariat for advice.

Secretary, Scientific Advisory Committee
Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP)
PO Box 500 East Melbourne 3002

or sac.secretariat@delwp.vic.gov.au

The process for nominating communities and potentially threatening processes is unchanged.

Nomination template for communities

Nomination template for processes

The FFG Act includes a legal requirement that a nomination must be made in writing. Please address to:

Secretary, Scientific Advisory Committee
Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP)
PO Box 500 East Melbourne 3002

or sac.secretariat@delwp.vic.gov.au

The SAC meets approximately 4 times a year. You may be required to wait up to 3 months before your nomination is considered, dependent on the meeting schedule and when you submit your nomination.

The FFG Act states that only nature conservation matters can be taken into account by the SAC in making its recommendations.

Economic, cultural, social, management or any other issues are not considered by the SAC or the minister in deciding whether a taxon, community or potentially threatening process should be added to or removed from the list.

The listing process focuses solely on the nominated item. It is not a development approval or project assessment process like that provided by the assessment process of the Environment Effects Act 1978, or the protected flora or fauna permit processes of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and the Wildlife Act 1975 .

Even though a development might pose a serious threat to a local occurrence of a taxon or ecological community, this is not relevant to listing unless the taxon or community is threatened Victoria-wide with extinction.

The SAC is free to supplement any nomination with additional information gathered by other nominators, the SAC's staff or referees. With the nominator's approval, the SAC may fill in minor gaps or correct small errors of presentation in the nomination. However, if a nomination has major omissions, it may be returned to the nominator with a request for additional information. Without adequate information, it is unlikely that the SAC will be able to recommend in favour of the nomination.

The FFG Act requires that a nomination should include a minimum amount of information, known as prescribed information. Nominations without this information may be rejected by the SAC. This requirement is to prevent delays in processing nominations. The prescribed information is set out at Schedule 4 of the FFG Regulations 2020 and includes:

  • Identification of the nominator/s -this helps to ensure that the nomination is genuine.
    • Nominator's name and contact details
    • Nominator's signature

The signature of each person making the nomination or the appointed representative of the nominator. If more than one person is making the nomination, all must sign. 
This information will normally remain confidential. Please indicate whether you wish your identity as a private individual to be kept confidential in case requests relating to your nomination are received under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

  • Identification of the nominated item - this is important to ensure that there is no ambiguity or confusion on the subject of the nomination.
    • For a new taxon, at least one specimen should be lodged with a recognised scientific institution (e.g. a new species of plant should be lodged with the National Herbarium, and a new insect species at the Museum of Victoria). This is necessary because it is possible that an item may be nominated as a new taxon, but then turn out to be a variant of a common taxon.
    • For a community, a statement of identification is required. The statement must specify the community according to a relevant text or reference, or it must describe the community in such a way that it is distinguished from all other communities in the State. The description should include reference to the community's identifying biological and physical characteristics and, if known to the nominator, the determining biological or non-biological components, environmental features or processes. Where possible, avoid using a geographic name in the community's name, as this can lead to a perception that the site is more important than the actual community type, which may occur in several localities, not just the named one. Preferable wording is "the community of flora and fauna characterised by species X, Y, and Z", and a shorter nickname can be provided. 
    • For a potentially threatening process, a statement of identification is required. The statement must specify the potentially threatening process in accordance with a relevant text or reference or it must describe the potentially threatening process in such a way that it is distinguishable from all other potentially threatening processes. A potentially threatening process must be defined as a process and not as a cause or a symptom of a process. (e.g. "Soil disturbance caused by mining" could be nominated as a threatening process. "Mining" would not be nominated because it is the cause of the threatening process, not the process itself.)
  • Supporting evidence
    • The nomination must also indicate: 
      - the range of flora or fauna (i.e. two or more species or a community) affected or potentially affected 
      - the significance of the threat which the potentially threatening process poses or has the potential to pose 
      - evidence to support eligibility for listing in or removal from the Threatened List or the Processes List 
      - the criterion or criteria that the nominator believes to be satisfied 
      - evidence to show how the nominated item satisfies the criterion or criteria. 

For removal from the list, evidence must be provided to show that the item does not satisfy the criteria for listing. 
If a taxon below the sub-species level or a narrowly defined community is being nominated, then in addition to evidence showing that a relevant primary criterion is satisfied, a statement of evidence of a special nature conservation need to conserve the item should also be included. 
If a taxon below the sub-species level or a narrowly defined community is being nominated, then in addition to evidence showing that a relevant primary criterion is satisfied, a statement of evidence of a special nature conservation need to conserve the item should also be included.

  • Criteria satisfied, and the reasons why

Anyone nominating an item for listing must present a case that the item meets the criteria to be listed or 'de-listed' as set down in the Regulations. Brief, specific evidence of decline, or critical information relevant to susceptibility to future threats, should be provided.

These information requirements are not intended to make it difficult for people to make nominations, but rather to prevent delays in processing nominations. Nominators need to put up a reasonable case so that the SAC can quickly and efficiently make a judgment on whether an item is threatened or threatening and should be listed, or whether an item is no longer a problem and can be de-listed. The SAC is not principally an investigating body but a decision-making committee.

It is the task of the nominator to seek out the evidence to back up a nomination for listing. The SAC then weighs up the evidence provided and may supplement the case with information supplied by other experts and from the expert knowledge of the members. A recommendation is made on the basis of available evidence. Information revealed by research carried out after the date a nomination is lodged may be considered at the SAC's discretion.

The SAC may reject a listing nomination if:

  • the subject of the nomination is already listed
    • the nomination is for a recategorisation amendment (e.g. upgrading or downgrading a listed taxon) and the Committee considers that a reassessment would not result in a change to the category of threat
    • the nomination is vexatious
      • the nomination is not accompanied by the prescribed information.

      The item being nominated must also meet the basic eligibility requirements of the Act. For example, a nomination could be rejected because

      • the subject of the nomination is not normally considered to be indigenous to Victoria;
      • the subject of the nomination is long extinct (i.e. known only from fossil evidence) or does not exist

Nominations for taxa or communities must provide information to demonstrate that the taxon or community is threatened with extinction in Victoria. You may also provide information about the taxon’s status in other States and Territories. 

The FFG Act and CAM now require that assessments must first consider the risk of extinction in Australia. DELWP and the SAC will liaise with the Commonwealth Government and other States and Territories to determine the need for and then undertake a national assessment. If the taxon is not considered nationally threatened or is not prioritised for national assessment by the other jurisdictions, the SAC  will progress your nomination based on a Victorian assessment.

Nominations must deal with the state-wide distribution of an item. If a taxon or community is locally rare but common elsewhere in the State, then it may not be eligible for listing. For example, a particular orchid species may be extremely rare on the Mornington Peninsula, but would not normally be eligible for listing if it was common and secure elsewhere in Victoria. If, however, the Mornington Peninsula population represents an identifiable taxon such as a variety or form below the sub-species level which is threatened, then it may be eligible for listing, provided there is a special nature conservation need to conserve it. 

Potentially threatening processes that do not operate throughout the State may be eligible for listing if overall, they pose a significant threat to the survival of a range of flora or fauna. 

Nominations should not be site-specific. The taxon, community or potentially threatening process should be defined by its biological characteristics and if known, its environmental characteristics; it shouldn't be described simply in terms of one isolated population (unless of course, only one population exists in the state). An area of remnant bushland, however valuable at a regional level, may not be eligible for listing if it is of a type that is fairly widespread and not threatened state-wide. 

When producing evidence, always state your source of information correctly and in detail. In the case of unpublished evidence, if you are the main authority for the subject, please provide the name of a referee who can vouch for your standing and authority. If in your nomination you are quoting information that has been given to you by an experienced person (i.e. a personal communication, often referred to in scientific articles as 'pers. comm.'), please indicate who they are and their standing as an authority. Quoting 'Smith (pers. comm.)' is insufficient if the SAC doesn't know who 'Smith' is. 

Please make every effort to ensure that the scientific name used for a nominated taxon is the correct one, and that it is spelt correctly. Refer to the list of useful references for assistance. 

A taxon below the sub-species level (e.g. a race or variety) or a narrowly defined community may only be eligible for listing if there is a special nature conservation need to conserve the item. Evidence of this need must be stated in the nomination.

Page last updated: 19/08/20