Illegal logging

​​Reforming Australia’s Illegal Logging Regulations Regulation Impact Statement (RIS)

The Australian Government has announced changes to the illegal logging laws and published​ the RIS.  Find out how we are improving the Illegal Logging Regulation​.

Australia’s illegal logging laws

The Australian Government is committed to supporting the trade in legally logged timber products.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has administered the illegal logging laws since they commenced in 2012. We aim to reduce the risk of products containing timber from illegal harvesting entering the Australian market.

Our laws make it a criminal offence to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly import illegally logged timber and timber products into Australia or to process domestically grown raw logs that have been illegally logged.

The Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 applies to all imported timber and timber products and all domestically grown logs processed in Australia.

Illegally logged is defined as timber harvested in contravention of laws in force in the place — whether or not in Australia — where the timber was harvested.

The requirement to carry out due diligence is outlined in the complementary Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012​. The Regulation applies to importers into Australia of regulated timber products and processors of domestically grown raw logs. See what products are regulated — Importers or Processors.

Importers are directly affected

If you import timber or timber products into Australia, you are required to minimise the chances of your products coming from or being made of wood which comes from illegally harvested sources. This means that you must implement a risk management system called a due diligence system.

Domestic processors are directly affected

If you process Australian grown raw logs you are required to minimise the chances of your raw logs coming from illegally harvested sources. This means that you must implement a risk management system called a due diligence system.

Customs brokers are indirectly affected

You are not directly regulated by the illegal logging laws but importers may approach you for assistance in understanding and complying with the requirements.

Businesses exporting to Australia are indirectly affected

You are not directly regulated by the illegal logging laws. All obligations are placed on the businesses importing the goods into Australia but importers may seek information from you and other exporters and suppliers about the timber or timber products purchased.

Effects of illegal logging

In Australia illegal logging relates to the harvest of timber in violation of the laws in place — whether or not in Australia — where the timber was harvested. In some countries illegal logging includes the purchase and sale of such timber.

Illegal logging is a significant problem in many countries and has wide-reaching environmental, economic and social impacts.

Illegal logging degrades forest environments, reduces biodiversity and undermines government regimes and revenues. Illegal logging also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and deprives communities of opportunities to improve their quality of life.

This trade in illegal timber disadvantages legitimate Australian businesses by undercutting market prices and threatening local investment, profitability and jobs.

Global impact of illegal logging

It has been estimated that each year approximately 10% of timber and wood-based product imports into Australia come from sources with high risk of being illegally logged. As our timber import market continues to grow, so does the risk of illegally logged timber and timber products entering the country.

It is widely reported that the annual worldwide value of illegal logging is up to USD$100 billion (more than AUD$134 billion), representing 30% of the global timber trade.

By buying and importing timber and timber products with ‘no questions asked', consumer countries are unknowingly giving financial incentives to those committing forest crimes and have undermined efforts to enforce the law in some of the world's poorest timber-producing countries.

Australia’s strong stance against illegal logging

As a responsible member of the global community and a producer of timber products, it is in our interest to promote the trade in legally logged timber.

By strengthening the laws around illegal logging we make our country a less attractive destination for cheap illegal timber and timber products that undercut legitimate Australian businesses. We are also strengthening our reputation in domestic and international markets.

Together with the European Union and the United States, two of the largest markets for timber products in the world, Australia is at the forefront of efforts to address the trade in illegally logged timber. This combined effort from consumer and producer countries continues to drive change in producer countries.

More information

We are here to help you comply with our illegal logging laws.

A suite of illegal logging publications, resources and guidance material is available under the Illegal logging guidance material and resources, including education and guidance materials and resources developed in partnership between the department and industry.

Contact us for further information on how the laws operate and whether they affect you:

  • phone during business hours on 1800 657 313 or if outside of Australia +61 2 6272 3933
  • email illegal logging
  • subscribe to the illegal logging mailing list to stay informed of the release of any new information or guidance materials or any upcoming information events.
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