Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition

21 November 2012

The Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2012 passed through the Australian Federal Senate on 19 November and is now awaiting Royal Assent to be enacted. The Bill passed through the House of Representatives in August.
The Act will restrict the sale and use of illegally logged timber in Australia in the following ways:
Placing a prohibition on importing illegally logged timber and timber products.
Placing a prohibition on processing domestically grown raw logs that have been illegally logged.
Establishing offences and penalties, including up to five years imprisonment, for the importation or processing of illegal timber and timber products.
Establishing comprehensive monitoring and investigation powers to enforce the above requirements of the Bill.
Regulations are to come into effect two years from when the Bill becomes law.
The regulations will detail due diligence requirements and those timber products which will be subject to the regulations. The Government will develop the regulations in consultation with stakeholders and will table the regulations six months from Royal Assent.
The Federation has had a keen interest in this matter since it was first mooted because of possible unintended effects on New Zealand timber exporters selling into Australia. We have been involved with the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries and other industry groups in developing a position and making submissions to the Australian government through the drafting stages of the Bill. We will continue to participate in the consultations that will take place over the next two years as the detail of the regulations evolves.
Our position will be, as in the drafting of the Bill, to ensure that timber imported into Australia from New Zealand is not subject to the prohibitions and that individual exporters are not required to demonstrate compliance with each consignment. It will be our objective for New Zealand to have recognition as a country as a source of legally logged timber in all respects and for New Zealand timber to automatically be deemed to be compliant with the legislation. Ideally, individual exporters would be relieved of any bureaucratic procedures if this eventuates.

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