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Illegally logged timber to be banned

DATE 22/12/2010

The Australian Government will introduce legislation to restrict importation and sale of illegal timbers. The legislation is part of a multifaceted approach which includes cooperation with Asia Pacific countries and international forestry bodies.
 

The move toward the new legislation has been outlined by Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Forestry Branch manager John Talbot in letter to Forestry Tasmania Executive General Manager Dr Hans Drielsma below.

 

Dear Dr Drielsma

Following widespread industry consultation, the Australian Government will restrict the entry of illegally logged timber products into Australia as part of a multifaceted approach to meet its 2010 election commitment.

New legislation to introduce the policy is expected to be considered by the Australian Parliament as soon as possible. The restriction on the importation and sale of illegal timber will come into force when the legislation commences.

In addition, there will be a requirement on timber suppliers who first place timber products onto the Australian market to undertake a due diligence process to verify the legal origins of the timber products and to disclose species, country of harvest and any certification. These timber suppliers include timber importers and domestic wood processing mills.

To facilitate the transition to the new requirements, industry will be given up to two years following the commencement of legislation to establish their due diligence systems. These due diligence systems will need to be incorporated within an industry developed, Commonwealth accredited, code of conduct.

The government will also introduce a trade description for legally verified timber products that will give consumers assurance that the timber products they purchase are legally harvested. This trade description will also enable the industry to publicly demonstrate its environmental credentials.

The new legislation and other measures will form part of a multifaceted approach that includes continued bilateral cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries and multilateral engagement on forestry though existing forums. This initiative will also complement the global effort to combat illegal logging, and in particular the work of the United States and the European Union in demanding that the legal origins of wood be verified.

The government will continue to consult with industry as key aspects of the policy are developed. For more information relating to the policy announcement and its implementation, visit www.daff.gov.au/illegallogging .

The government is considering conducting seminars regarding the new policy in early 2011.
If you would be interested in attending a seminar please indicate your interest via daff.forestry@daff.gov.au.

Yours sincerely


John Talbot
General Manager
Forestry Branch
9 December 2010