Attachment E: Woodchip Export Licence Monitoring
A dedicated and independent unit to monitor compliance with the conditions of hardwood woodchip export licences had been formally established within the Department of Primary Industries and Energy.
The Woodchip Export Monitoring Unit is part of improved monitoring arrangements Mr Beddall foreshadowed last December. These arrangements include more stringent reporting by exporters with compliance of licence conditions, particularly on sourcing.
The Unit has been operating since 1 June with seconded staff. The dedicated Unit represents a significant improvement over the previous arrangements where alleged breaches were investigated on a case-by-case basis.
The costs of the monitoring arrangements will be recovered from exporters. The Export Control Act has been amended to allow imposition of a export licence fee for monitoring. Mr Beddall has, this week, put in place Ministerial Orders imposing a licence fee on non plantation hardwood woodchip licences for 1996. The levy is set at 12.6 cents per green tonne, and will collect an estimated $660 000 in 1996.
Under the improved monitoring arrangements the Unit is working in close co-operation with the States to develop monitoring programs. State processes which are acceptable to the Commonwealth will support monitoring undertaken by the Unit.
The Monitoring Unit's Canberra based staffing is lean. Independent experts will be engaged, if necessary, to undertake strategic inspections and inquire into any specific allegation.
While the Unit is located in the Department of Primary Industries and Energy, its operations are conducted independently. Functions of the Unit include:
- verification that exporters comply with hardwood woodchip export licence conditions;
- collation and analysis of exporters' annual reports on compliance with export licence conditions;
- inquiries into alleged breaches of export licence conditions.
Any allegations of breaches of woodchip export licence conditions should be addressed either to the Minister for Resources or to the Director of the Woodchip Monitoring Unit (GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2600).
The Unit will prepare a report based on the monitoring activities each year, and the report will be made available to the public.