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.

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.

For further information on any recommendations of the SAC, please contact the SAC as follows:




Secretary, Scientific Advisory Committee

Biodiversity Division

Environment and Climate Change

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning


Preliminary recommendations of the SAC open for public comment

Preliminary recommendations inform the public of the SAC’s assessment of nominations. There are currently two preliminary recommendations open for public comment until 16 April 2022.

To make a submission to the SAC:


DELWP Customer Service Centre: Phone 136 186

The SAC has made the preliminary recommendation that the following items be specified on the Threatened List under the FFG Act. Please note: PDF versions provided below are the official signed documents of the SAC.

Narracan Corrugated Mussel (PDF, 475.8 KB)

Narracan Corrugated Mussel
(DOCX, 237.3 KB)

Depressed Freshwater Mussel (PDF, 542.8 KB)

Depressed Freshwater Mussel (DOCX, 258.6 KB)

Final recommendations of the SAC

The following final recommendations arose from the SAC meeting in January 2022.

The SAC has made the final recommendation that the following items be specified on the Threatened List under the FFG Act. Please note: PDF versions provided below are the official signed documents of the SAC.

Yalmy Galaxias (PDF, 558.9 KB)

Yalmy Galaxias (DOCX, 259.9 KB)

Western Port Bryozoan Reef Community (PDF, 404.5 KB)

Western Port Bryozoan Reef Community (DOCX, 71.7 KB)

Notice of Decision

There are no recent Notices of Decision.

Page last updated: 07/07/22