Australian legislation to combat global illegal logging passes through Parliament

Australian legislation prohibiting the importation of illegally logged timber products has now passed through Parliament. There is also a new due diligence requirement for importers of timber products.

Australia is putting in place legislation to combat the trade in illegally logged timber products. The Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill which passed yesterday is framework legislation and many of the details will be fleshed out in regulations that will be developed over the next two years. The European Union and the United States have enacted similar legislation.

The Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2012 creates an even economic playing field for the purchase and sale of legally logged timber products in Australia and gives consumers and businesses greater certainty about the legality of the timber products they buy.

How does the bill restrict the importation and sale of illegally logged timber in Australia?

• It prohibits the import of illegally logged timber and timber products.
• It prohibits the processing of domestically grown raw logs that have been illegally logged.
• It establish offences and penalties, including up to five years imprisonment, for the import or processing of illegal timber and timber products.
• It establishes comprehensive monitoring and investigation powers to enforce the above requirements of the Bill.
These provisions will come into effect the day after Royal Assent. Regulations will come into effect two years from when the Bill becomes law.

More information

More information can be found on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website

A copy of the Bill and an explanatory memorandum can be viewed on the Parliament of Australia website.