Koalas could be listed as a threatened species after federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley included them in a new assessment.
The combined koala population of Queensland, NSW and the ACT - currently listed as "vulnerable" in those areas - was publicly nominated for assessment.
Koalas have faced a series of devastating threats including the 2019-20 summer bushfires, drought and habitat loss and degradation.
It's estimated three billion native animals were impacted by the fires, which spanned 12 million hectares.
During the bushfires, Ms Ley asked the threatened species scientific committee to consider the need for the uplisting of the koala's status - a move now being considered.
"I have decided that, in addition to the normal annual nomination process, that the committee will conduct a series of interim nomination and prioritisation processes over the next two years, with another in December this year and again in April 2021," she said.
The Greater Glider, which is currently assessed as "vulnerable" having lost about 30 per cent of its range in the bushfires, is also being reviewed.
The 28 species included in the initial "finalised priority assessment list" for review include two reptiles, four frogs, seven fish, six mammals and 12 birds, bringing the total number of species being assessed to 108.
The committee will gather and review all information about the species, consult with expert scientists, Indigenous communities and land managers as they look at listing the species.
Threatened species in Australia are given strategic protection and are eligible for targeted funding.
Formal consultation will begin from October 1.
Koala protection has been political dynamite in NSW with the government's junior coalition partner the Nationals staunchly objecting to the policy for restricting farmers' land use.
Australian Associated Press