Illegal Logging - first infringement notice issued
Illegal logging laws
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is pleased to bring you the latest news on Australia's illegal logging laws.
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Importer issued with the first illegal logging infringement notice
In November 2018, a Queensland-based importer was served with the first infringement notice issued under Australia's illegal logging laws. The notice was issued for ongoing non-compliance with the laws' due diligence requirements and resulted in the business being penalised $12,600.
The issuance of the infringement notice reflects the Department's implementation of a full compliance model for the illegal logging laws, with the "soft start-compliance period" ending in January 2018.
In administering the illegal logging laws, we continue to audit importers and processors to assess their compliance with the laws' requirements. We have now audited over 600 businesses and provided a range of advice on whether their due diligence systems meet the laws' requirements. More compliance audits are scheduled for 2019.
Further information about the department's compliance model can be found on our Illegal Logging Compliance and Enforcement webpage. This details our approach for managing compliance with Australia's illegal logging laws and describes where our compliance monitoring and enforcement activities are being focused.
Release of new Republic of Korea Country Specific Guideline
The CSG is intended to assist importers to understand the Republic of Korea's regulatory frameworks and to identify information to demonstrate that the timber in the products they are importing has been legally harvested.
Undertaking a risk assessment using the information set out in a CSG is one way of satisfying the due diligence requirements of the illegal logging laws.
The Republic of Korea is a key supplier of timber products to Australia. In 2017, we imported approximately $159 million worth of products from Korea.
The department continues to work with other key trading partners to develop additional CSGs to assist Australian importers in undertaking an informed risk assessment of the legality of their timber products.
The Korea CSG adds to the existing suite of CSGs, with Canada, Finland, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia (Peninsular, Sabah, Sarawak), New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands already available.
Updated Indonesia Country Specific Guideline now online
In October 2018, the department and the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry agreed to several revisions to the Indonesia CSG and its associated Quick Reference Guide.
The revisions were intended to improve the overall clarity of the Indonesian CSG and to ensure that it continues to be relevant and up to date (with the original version published in October 2014).
The revised CSG is now available on the department's website, ensuring that Australian importers have the most up to date information available when conducting their due diligence on timber products originating from Indonesia.
The department continues to work to ensure that all CSGs remain up to date and accurate.
New and updated CSGs are published on the department's illegal logging webpages as they are finalised.
The Department provides a confidential mechanism to report suspected breaches of Australia's illegal logging laws.
The Redline service allows callers to report matters that may not be detected, reported, or acted on through other means. It is available for all of the key legislation administered by the department, including illegal logging.
Some of the best people to spot breaches of Australia's illegal logging laws are those who work in the industry every day. If it doesn't add up and looks like a breach of the illegal logging laws, then we encourage you to call the Redline.
Any call to the Redline should contain:
information about a person or company operating in Australia or importing goods into Australia
details that could help the Department identity a potential beach of legislation
information that has made you suspicious that there may have been a breach of the legislation.
International News - The last trees of the Amazon - journalism investigation
A team of journalists from five Latin American countries have come together to undertake a detailed investigation into how groups of timber traffickers are managing to steal and process timber from the Amazon.
#MaderaSucia ("dirty timber") is an investigation aimed at analysing the current situation of the Amazonian timber market and discovering the ways in which traffickers launder their illegally obtained products into the global trade chain. The investigation has been led by OjoPúblico and Mongabay Latam in partnership with a team of reporters from Colombia (Semana, El Espectador), Bolivia (El Deber), Mexico (Connectas) and Brazil (InfoAmazonia).
The investigation specifically looks at the trade in illegally-sourced timber in Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia. While Australia only directly imports limited amounts of timber from these countries, it is likely timber from the Amazon is still entering the Australian market via processing or manufacturing operations in third countries.
This underlines the importance of working with your supplier and other elements of your supply chain to determine where the timber in your products is coming from. Just knowing who is selling you the product is not enough. If you don't have a good idea of where the timber is originally being sourced from, there is a real risk you could be buying illegal timber.
The investigation also demonstrates the potential for illegally logged timber to be accompanied by fraudulent documents. As highlighted in an earlier E-Update, NepCon has released a useful guide on identifying fake documents. This can be found on our Illegal Logging Resources for Importers webpage.
International News - A different type of Christmas tree in the Philippines
As the Christmas holidays approach, we thought it apt to include the following article.
In the town of Palawan in the Philippines, a 25 foot tall Christmas tree, made from chainsaws confiscated from illegal loggers, has been permanently erected. Made of 86 chainsaws, it represents only a portion of the 1,000 chainsaws confiscated by the Palawan NGO network over recent years.
Our well wishes for the Christmas period and the new year!
The Department will be closed over the Christmas holiday period, but our illegal logging staff will be back in the office from early January 2019. In the meantime, we would like to wish you a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.