Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988

Victoria’s biodiversity target is a net improvement in the outlook for all species by 2037. The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (the FFG Act) is a key tool in achieving this target.

It is the key piece of Victorian legislation for the conservation of threatened species and communities and for the management of potentially threatening processes.

The FFG Act places importance on prevention to ensure that more species do not become threatened in the future. The Act emphasises the importance of cooperative approaches to biodiversity conservation and recognises that all government agencies and the community need to participate in the conservation effort.

The Act's objectives aim to conserve all of Victoria's native plants and animals. Discover more about the FFG Act below.

These are:

a. to guarantee that all taxa of Victoria's flora and fauna, other than taxa specified in the Excluded list, can persist and improve in the wild and retain their capacity to adapt to environmental changes; and

b. to prevent taxa and communities of flora and fauna from becoming threatened and to recover threatened taxa and communities so their conservation status improves; and

c. to protect, conserve, restore and enhance biodiversity, including -

i. flora and fauna and their habitats; and

ii. genetic diversity; and

iii. ecological communities; and

iv. ecological processes; and

d. to identify and mitigate the impacts of potentially threatening processes to address the important underlying causes of biodiversity decline; and

e. to ensure the use of biodiversity as a natural resource is ecologically sustainable; and

f. to identify and conserve areas of Victoria in respect of which critical habitat determinations are made.

Flora and Fauna Guarantee Amendment Act 2019

The FFG Act has been amended to provide a modern and strengthened framework for the protection of Victoria’s biodiversity.

The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Amendment Act 2019 (the Amendment Act) came into effect on June 1, 2020.

The Amendment Act:

  • introduces principles to guide the implementation of the FFG Act, including consideration of the rights and interests of Traditional Owners and the impacts of climate change
  • requires consideration of biodiversity across government to ensure decisions and policies are made with proper consideration of the potential impacts on biodiversity
  • clarifies existing powers to determine critical habitat and improves their protection by encouraging cooperative management
  • gives effect to a consistent national approach to assessing and listing threatened species using the Common Assessment Method (CAM), which will reduce duplication of effort between jurisdictions and facilitate the monitoring and reporting of species’ conservation status
  • modernises the FFG Act’s enforcement framework including stronger penalties.

Helmeted Honeyeater - credit Andrew Silcocks

The Bill as passed by Parliament, the Explanatory Memorandum, and the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change’s Second Reading Speech are available on the Victorian Legislation website.

More information about the review of the Act, including the public consultation paper and submission summary are available from the Engage Victoria website.

The amended Act may impact the work of the department, individuals, companies or public authorities.

Changes under the Amendment Act

Species will now be considered for listing as threatened under the FFG Act in accordance with the intergovernmental CAM. The CAM adopts the categories and criteria of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species. Species will now be listed under the FFG Act in the following categories of threat:

  • extinct
  • extinct in the wild
  • critically endangered
  • endangered
  • vulnerable
  • conservation dependent

Key elements of the previous listing process are retained, such as public nomination and assessment by the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). There are no changes to the listing of threatened communities or processes.

A transitional process to bring Victoria’s existing FFG Act Threatened List and Advisory Lists in line with the CAM has been completed. This was overseen by the Conservation Status Assessment Project team.

New guidelines will clarify the eligibility criteria for critical habitat determinations. Habitat conservation orders are replacing interim conservation orders. Habitat conservation orders have a maximum operation time of 10 years. Any persons affected by a habitat conservation order will be notified and can provide submissions. In some cases, there may be compensation if you are affected by a habitat conservation order.

Critical habitats and HCO factsheet

The Amended Act requires ministers and public authorities to consider the FFG Act when performing functions that might impact biodiversity. More information is available in this Public authority duty fact sheet and further guidance will be prepared to support public authorities to fulfill their obligations under the FFG Act.

A new category of protected flora - ‘restricted use protected flora’ is being introduced. There are changes to offences related to the take, trade, movement or processing of all protected flora, including revised exemptions. There have also been changes to the penalties for not complying with controls. Visit the Protected Flora page to find out more.

Further information

The FFG Act is supported by the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Regulations 2020. The Regulations were made under section 69 of the FFG Act. The key elements of the Regulations are:

  • eligibility criteria for the listing of taxa, communities of flora or fauna and potentially threatening processes;
  • information that must be included in nominations for the listing of taxa of flora and fauna;
  • decision-making criteria for licences, permits and authorisations consistent with the updated objectives of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act; and
  • the form of notices, applications and certificates issued under the Act.

The Regulations include the following schedules:

Schedule 1 - Eligibility criteria for determining eligibility for listing of species (taxa) of flora or fauna under the FFG Act

Schedule 2 - Eligibility criteria for determining eligibility for listing of communities of flora or fauna under the FFG Act

Schedule 3 - Eligibility criteria for determining eligibility for listing of potentially threatening processes under the FFG Act

Schedule 4 - Prescribed Information required by the FFG Act to be provided with nominations

Schedule 5 – Forms, e.g. notices, applications and certificates used under the FFG Act

Visit the Victorian Legislation website for a current version of the Regulations.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is the Australian Government’s key piece of environmental legislation. While the Victorian Government has primary responsibility for environmental protection across the State, any action (e.g. proposal or project) in Victoria that is likely to have a significant impact on a ‘matter of national environmental significance’ must be referred to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment under the EPBC Act to determine whether an action can proceed.

The Australian Government and all states and territories in Australia have agreed to establish a Common Assessment Method for the assessment and listing of threatened species. The CAM will facilitate a nationally consistent approach to the listing of threatened species using IUCN categories and criteria and the alignment of threatened species lists across Australia into a single operational list.

The FFG Act requires that a Biodiversity Strategy is prepared which includes proposals for achieving the objectives of the Act, targets to measure the achievement of the objectives and a monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework.

Protecting Victoria’s Environment - Biodiversity 2037 is the current Biodiversity Strategy under the FFG Act.

The Wildlife Act aims to ensure the protection and sustainable use of all wildlife, which includes native wildlife, as well as non-native wildlife such as deer that has been declared to be wildlife.

The Wildlife Act works in conjunction with the FFG Act to protect threatened species. However, it also contains extensive provisions which are not directly related to threatened species, such as protection of whales and seals, the management of wildlife and nature reserves and the regulation of the keeping and trading of wildlife. The FFG Act lists all threatened species – flora, fauna and fish – and the Wildlife Act provides regulatory protection to threatened wildlife.

More information can be found on our wildlife page.

Page last updated: 31/01/23