Australian illegal logging laws to help legitimate forestry worldwide
Project No: PNA252-1112
New penalties have been established for any business importing or processing illegally harvested timber. The Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 and the Illegal Logging Prohibition Amendment Regulation 2013 (Regulation), which came into effect on 30th November 2014, says that anyone importing illegally logged timber into Australia or processing illegally harvested raw logs can face up to five years in jail as well as fines of $85,000 for an individual and $425,000 for a corporation.
In Australian law, illegally harvested timber is that which is harvested in contravention of the laws of the country (whether or not in Australia) in which the timber was harvested. The legislation is similar to that already operating in Europe and the United States. Whether companies are harvesting trees, producing wood products locally or importing timber and timber products into Australia, the legislation is designed to support legitimately harvested forestry by preventing undercutting by suppliers of timber products made from illegally harvested wood.
It is therefore vital that businesses understand their obligations and what they must do to comply. To assist with this, the Timber Development Association (TDA), with support from industry via FWPA, has developed a suite of tools and guidance for both importers and domestic processors. The tools are based on compliance tools developed by industry in Europe and the United States, and have been extensively refined in consultation with Australian timber importers, domestic industry, their industry associations as well as the Federal Department of Agriculture.
For importers, an Australian Industry Timber Due Diligence (AITDD) system has been developed to make the job of importing legally harvested timber as straightforward as possible. This is a comprehensive, easy to use suite of specific guidance tools focused on setting up and implementing a due diligence system for any importing business. It includes templates such as company due diligence manual, information gathering and risk assessment worksheets as well as a questionnaire for suppliers to gather additional information where it is lacking.
For businesses processing locally grown logs the risk of sourcing illegally harvested logs is widely recognised as being very low. To assist local industry the Australian Government has included in the Regulation State and Territory specific guidelines that domestic processors can use in assessing their specific risk of sourcing illegal harvested logs. The TDA has developed a Domestic Processors Overview and a Domestic Processor Due Diligence Summary to help businesses document where their raw logs are coming from and that they have the relevant permission to supply logs to the processor.
Read the guidance and download tools at www.timberduediligence.com.au
Additionally, for further information recordings of webinar presentations by the Department of Agriculture can be found hosted on the FWPA website. The recordings provide an overview on the introduction of the Regulations and how they may apply in particular to processors, importers and customs brokers.