Illegal logging

​​​​Update - Reforms to the illegal logging laws (February 2018)

In October 2017, the government announced several reforms to the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012. These were intended to streamline and clarify the Regulation’s due diligence requirements. The key reform was the establishment of a new 'deemed to comply' arrangement for products certified under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for Endorsement Certification (PEFC) schemes.

On 8 February 2018, the ‘deemed to comply’ arrangement was debated in the Australian Senate and the associated amendments were disallowed. This means the new streamlined ‘deemed to comply’ arrangement for FSC and PEFC products will no longer be implemented. Parties dealing with FSC and PEFC products will still need to carry out the full due diligence process described in the Regulation.

Further information about the due diligence requirements is available at Illegal Logging – Guidance for Importers and Illegal Logging – Guidance for Processors.

Australia’s illegal logging laws

Illegal logging is a significant global problem. The theft, laundering and trade of illegal timber occurs throughout the world and has wide-reaching environmental, economic and social impacts.

As a key market for timber and wood products, Australia plays an important role in supporting international efforts to combat illegal logging and its associated trade. We also have a strong economic incentive for stopping illegal logging as it drives down timber prices and undercuts Australia’s well managed forest industries. It threatens local investment, profitability and jobs.

Australia’s illegal logging laws came into force in 2012. They make it a criminal offence to import illegally logged timber and timber products into Australia, or to process domestically grown raw logs that have been illegally logged. They also require importers and domestic processors to actively manage the risk they are dealing with illegally logged timber. This is called undertaking ‘due diligence’.

Australia’s illegal logging laws place different obligations on different people:

Importers are directly affected

If you import timber or wood-based products into Australia, you are required to actively manage the risk that your products may have come from illegally harvested sources. This means you must have and use a due diligence system to manage these risks before importing the products into Australia.

Domestic processors are directly affected

If you process Australian grown raw logs, you are required to actively manage the risk that your logs might come from illegally harvested sources. This means you must have and use a due diligence system to manage these risk before processing the raw logs.

Customs brokers are indirectly affected

If you are a customs broker assisting with the importation of timber or wood-based products, you are not directly regulated by the illegal logging laws. However, importers may approach you for assistance in understanding and complying with the due diligence requirements.

Businesses exporting to Australia are indirectly affected

If you supply timber or wood-based products to Australia businesses, you are not directly regulated by the illegal logging laws. All obligations sit with the businesses importing the goods into Australia. However, importers may seek information from you about the legality of the timber or wood-based products you are supplying.

More information

We are here to help you comply with Australia’s illegal logging laws. These webpages provide a range of resources and guidance to better understand your obligations under the laws.

You can also contact us for further information on how the laws operate and if they affect you:

  • phone during business hours on 1800 900 090 or if outside of Australia +61 2 6272 3933
  • email illegal logging
  • subscribe to the illegal logging mailing list to receive new information or guidance materials and details on upcoming information events.

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