Key threatening processes under the EPBC Act

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) provides for the identification and listing of key threatening processes.

A threatening process is defined as a key threatening process if it threatens or may threaten the survival, abundance or evolutionary development of a native species or ecological community. For example, incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations’ is listed as a key threatening process as it threatens albatross, petrels and shearwaters in Australian waters where the fishing practice is undertaken.

A process can be listed as a key threatening process if it could:

  • cause a native species or ecological community to become eligible for inclusion in a threatened list (other than the conservation dependent category); or
  • cause an already listed threatened species or threatened ecological community to become more endangered; or
  • adversely affect two or more listed threatened species or threatened ecological communities.

The assessment of a threatening process as a key threatening process is the first step to addressing the impact of a particular threat under Commonwealth law.

Frequently asked questions

These frequently asked questions provide additional information about key threatening processes. 

Frequently asked questions - key threatening processes (PDF - 89.89 KB)
Frequently asked questions - key threatening processes (DOCX - 58.6 KB)

Nominations for listing threatening processes

Any person may nominate a threatening process for listing under the EPBC Act.

An invitation to nominate is extended by the Minister each year ahead of a new assessment cycle. Nominations received during the invitation period are considered by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (the Committee) for inclusion in a proposed priority assessment list.

Nominations included on the finalised priority assessment list are assessed by the Committee, which makes these nominations available for public and expert comment. After assessment, the Committee's advice is forwarded to the Minister, who decides whether a threatening process is eligible for listing under the EPBC Act.

For further information on the nominations process read:

Once a threatening process is listed under the EPBC Act a threat abatement plan can be put into place if it is shown to be 'a feasible, effective and efficient way' to abate the threatening process.

More information

For a comprehensive understanding of the provisions relating to listed key threatening processes, you should refer directly to the:

For general information about threatened species and threatened ecological communities contact the Australian Government Department of the Environment Community Information Unit:

Email: ciu@environment.gov.au

Freecall: 1800 803 772