Risks assessments

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning undertakes risk assessments for species and communities that have been listed as threatened under Victoria’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act) or the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)and are potentially impacted by forestry operations across Victoria’s five Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) regions. This is a requirement in Victoria’s modernised RFAs which were amended in March 2020 to include new mechanisms for strengthened environmental protections.

Since March 2020, three risk assessments have been completed for 142 threatened species and communities:

  • Tranche 1 Risk Assessment
  • Platypus and Little Eagle Risk Assessment
  • Tranche 2 Risk Assessment

The 2019-20 bushfires had a major impact on Victoria’s natural environment. The Victorian Government has supported, and is continuing to support, biodiversity recovery across Victoria, including in our State forests.

Tranche 1 Risk Assessment (completed in October 2020)

In 2020, the risks of various hazards (e.g. climate change, pests and weeds, forestry operations) were assessed for 70 threatened species and nine threatened ecological communities. The Tranche 1 risk assessment supported the identification of interim measures to protect threatened species and communities from hazards posing significant or high risks in the short term.

Most interim measures were targeted within fire-affected regions, ensuring species and communities impacted by bushfire are supported during their recovery. Species and communities were prioritised for interim action through spatial analysis, literature review, interviews with experts, and updates from scientists conducting field reconnaissance following the 2019-20 bushfires. This prioritisation identified 32 species and communities at the greatest risk of serious or irreversible environmental damage in the short term.

The next stage of the Tranche 1 risk assessment process involved assessing the requirement for permanent protections. In September 2022, permanent protections were finalised for 20 species and two communities. These species and communities were identified through spatial analysis, literature review and expert elicitation.

This work builds upon existing protections for our forest-dependent threatened species and communities. It supports the Victorian forest management system to deliver on key objectives of the RFAs: the conservation and recovery of threatened species and communities and the ecologically sustainable management of Victoria’s forests.

The interim and permanent protections reports are available below.

Platypus and Little Eagle Risk Assessments (completed in July 2021)

In mid-2021, DELWP completed risk assessments for the Platypus and Little Eagle. Based on the findings of these risk assessments, there was no requirement for interim protections to manage risks from forestry operations for either species in the short-term.

The Platypus and Little Eagle risk assessment reports are available below.

Tranche 2 Risk Assessments (completed in September 2022)

In 2021-2022 the risks associated with various hazards were assessed for 61 newly-listed threatened species under the FFG Act. The Tranche 2 risk assessment has supported the identification of interim measures to protect those threatened species at risk from serious or irreversible harm in the short term.

Using the latest scientific evidence available, interim protections have been developed for 19 species. These protections will be complemented by an assessment of the requirement for permanent protections for any of the 61 species in 2023.

The Tranche 2 Risk Assessment and Interim Protections report is available below.

Next steps

Following the implementation of any permanent protections, new or updated action statements will be prepared for all species and communities subject to risk assessments, as required under the FFG Act. More detailed management plans will also be prepared for some species and communities. These action statements and management plans will be based on a detailed assessment of the management actions necessary for the conservation of each species and community. All hazards, as well as all relevant social and economic factors, will be considered in their preparation. Stakeholder consultation during the development of the action statements will help to ensure proposed management actions are feasible and proportionate.

Independent review

Three independent scientists, including two serving members of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Scientific Advisory Committee, conducted a review of the methods used in the 2020 risk assessment.

This review indicated that

  • The approach and methodologies applied were appropriate to inform whether interim protections and management should be undertaken; and
  • that the methods represented a standard and appropriate approach to the risk assessments and consideration of mitigation options. Improvements identified by the independent reviewers have been incorporated into subsequent risk assessments as far as possible.

The assessors included personnel with vast experience and knowledge of most of the listed species and communities. The independent experts were:

  • John Woinarski – Professor, Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (Charles Darwin University)
  • Matt Dell – Senior Consultant Botanist, Dell Botany; and member of Victorian Scientific Advisory Committee
  • Michelle Casanova – Principal, Charophyte Services; Research Associate, New York Botanical Gardens; Research Associate, Natural History Museum (London); Research Associate, Royal Botanical Gardens (Melbourne); Deputy Chair, Glenelg Hopkins CMA; and convenor of Victorian Scientific Advisory Committee

More information

More information on the RFA's is available at the Victorian Regional Forest Agreements page.

Page last updated: 29/09/22