Archive for January 2019

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Illegal Logging E-Update #27 - First infringement notice issued, new and revised CSGs, Redline, international news

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 Department has published the Republic of Korea Country Specific Guideline (CSG) and its associated Quick Reference Guide on its website.

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.

You can view and download a copy of the Republic of Korea CSG and the other CSGs via our Illegal logging resources for importers webpage.

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.

You can view and download a copy of the suite of CSGs via our Illegal logging resources for importers webpage.

Redline - report a breach of the laws

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.

You can call Redline on: 1800 803 006

Read more: Redline - report a breach

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.

Read more: https://news.mongabay.com/2018/11/the-last-trees-of-the-amazon/

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.

Read more: http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1018892

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.

 

Further information

  • See the department's illegal logging website for information and resources.
  • Read previous e-updates.
  • Email the department's illegal logging policy section or the illegal logging compliance section. The department will respond to you within 10 working days.
  • Call the department during business hours (8.30 am to 5.30 pm) on 1800 657 313, or +61 2 6272 3933 outside Australia.
 
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FTA calls for Independent Review into Biosecurity Measures

Who does this notice affect?

Importers, freight forwarders and customs brokers affected by the increased intervention during the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) risk season - shipped between 1 September 2018 and 30 April 2019 inclusive.

FTA calls for Independent Review into Biosecurity Measures

 

Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) has submitted a formal request to the Hon David Littleproud, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources for the Federal Government to immediately commission an independent review on BMSB measures.

FTA has provided details of operational and cost impacts affecting members and further highlighted the importance for a review given that emergency measures may be impacted next season involving more target countries.

FTA continues to drive this ongoing advocacy as the sole industry voice calling for the review - today's FTA media release is available below.

 

Paul Zalai - FTA / APSA

 

MEDIA RELEASE:

 
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has implemented widespread emergency measures on imported containers from U.S., Italy, Germany, France and other countries, via chemical fumigation or other approved treatment methods, to combat the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).
 
While essential in safeguarding Australia from a major biosecurity threat, international trade has been adversely impacted by the BMSB measures with major importers reporting significant disruptions to their international supply chain operations, as well as increased costs of importing essential consumer goods. 
 
In extreme instances, total cargo vessels and their loads are being turned away from Australian shores due to detection of the pest. Australia’s peak trade alliance has indicated that millions of dollars are being paid by importers, customs brokers and freight forwarders as a result of the processes associated with the management of the BMSB. 
 
Paul Zalai, director of the Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) stated that for those that have been fortunate to have their cargo arrive, many have been adversely affected by the onshore delays caused by inadequate offshore treatment, failure in government systems and processes and a local industry inadequately prepared to deal with the growing onshore treatment task “The direct costs to importers imposed by stevedores for storage and in detention fees imposed by shipping lines for the late return of unpacked empty containers are rapidly escalating, adding to the costs associated with failure to meet supply demands.”
 
Some freight forwarders have resorted to desperate and expensive measures by using a combination of sea cargo movements from origin and transhipping cargo at intermediary ports, using airfreight to land goods into Australia. While a legitimate practice, it is anticipated that it will only be a matter of time before cargo arriving by air faces similar biosecurity scrutiny as that by sea with the potential threat of choking major Australian international airports.
 
“The problem is not going to go away. Indications from the department is that by next season (September to April) we will be talking about treatment of goods from high risk continents rather than high risk countries, such is the spread of the pest throughout Europe, Asia and other parts of the world”  Zalai said 
 
The FTA has acknowledged that the associated treatments, processes and systems are extremely complex and there is no simple fix to address current operational deficiencies. FTA has called on the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources to urgently commission a comprehensive independent review.
 
 

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BMSB UPDATE 43 - containers treated with Sulfuryl Fluoride / Italian treatment providers

Who does this notice affect?

Importers, freight forwarders and customs brokers affected by the increased intervention during the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) risk season - shipped between 1 September 2018 and 30 April 2019 inclusive.

BMSB UPDATE 43 - containers treated with Sulfuryl Fluoride / Italian treatment providers

 

Containers treated with Sulfuryl Fluoride.

 

Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) has engaged with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources again today in terms of the management of inspections for containers treated with Sulfuryl Fluoride.

The department is working with the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) on identifying measures to safeguard the health and safety of officers.

In the interim, the department is assessing the management of affected containers on a case-by-case basis.

We are hopeful of early resolution to this matter.

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NNF 2019/010 - BMSB 2018-19 Seasons Measures Update

NNF 2019/010 - BMSB 2018-19 Seasons Measures Update

As you may be aware based on information provided in past newsflashes, the CBFCA continues meeting with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. (DAWR) advocating for internal review of the BMSB policy and process, and ongoing lobby for improvements to limit the impact on members and their clients.

On Thursday 10 January 2019, CBFCA representatives along with other key industry Associations participated in a teleconference with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Cargo Consultative Committee (DCCC), to obtain latest update on the 2018-19 BMSB seasons measures, proposed policy changes and discuss proposals by DCCC industry members options for addressing cargo clearance delays and BMSB measures.

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2019/011 - Import Industry Advice Notice 07-2019

This notice relates to:

Recent prosecutions for failing to comply with departmental directions.

This serves as a timely reminder that directions issued by the department must be followed and any failure to meet the these requirements may have significant personal and corporate consequences.

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Biosecurity Import Levy

Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) continues its advocacy in terms of the Biosecurity Import Levey which appears likely to add to the increasing list of surcharges, cost recovery fees and taxes which collectively contributes to a substantial dollar value to the price of landed goods into Australia.

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Third BMSB vessel directed to leave Australian territory

Third vessel directed to leave Australian territory, MV Thalatta

·On 4 January 2019, the vessel Thalatta and its cargo was directed to leave Australian territory due to unacceptable biosecurity risk posed by Brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB). This is the third vessel directed to leave Australian territory this BMSB season.

·On 16 December 2018, the Thalatta, a roll-on roll-off vessel, carrying cargo loaded from Germany, Belgium, Spain and South Africa arrived off Fremantle, Australia. The cargo compromised mainly vehicles and some machinery with around 50 percent of the cargo having been treated for BMSB prior to loading. The vessel had carried out a thermal fogging of the cargo holds in Spain.

·Enroute the vessel was subject to heightened vessel surveillance for Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) and reported detections of exotic insects (both live and dead), including BMSB.

·The vessel was initially directed to remain at anchorage at a safe distance off Fremantle, Australia. While at anchorage it was directed for thermal py-fogging prior to a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources inspection, at which only a small number of insects were detected, including dead BMSB.

·Subsequently, during a controlled discharge under departmental supervision at Fremantle port, one live BMSB and two other insects (not of biosecurity concern) were detected on the cargo.

·Cargo discharge was ceased and the department directed that all unloaded cargo be reloaded onto the vessel.  There were 83 units that could not be reloaded. This cargo was secured on the wharf and directed for treatment. Following treatment, the cargo was inspected and dead BMSB were found.

·The vessel was directed back to anchorage. Whilst at anchorage, the vessel reported findings of a large number of exotic insects, including BMSB.

·The continued detections of exotic insects, including BMSB, indicates the likelihood of a larger residual population of exotic insects, including BMSB that remain undetected on board the vessel.

·The department considered these findings, along with the risk management plan submitted by the vessel operator, and determined that the vessel and its cargo continues to present an unacceptable level of biosecurity risk.

·The vessel operator has fully cooperated with the department.

 
An Industry Advice Notice (194-2018) published on 24 December 2018, reminds industry of the risk posed by BMSB and to ensure all target high risk goods manufactured in, or shipped from, target risk countries must be treated offshore. Vessel operators should manage contamination risks to ensure goods are not contaminated with BMSB and/or other biosecurity risks.
 

Loading and shipment of break bulk cargo treated by suspended offshore treatment providers


An Industry Advice Notice (195-2018) published on 24 December 2018, outlines the processes for goods that have been treated for BMSB risk by a suspended offshore treatment provider under the Offshore BMSB Treatment Providers Scheme.
 
Due to the high level of biosecurity risk to manage break bulk treated by suspended treatment providers, the department has revised its onshore policy for this cargo. Vessel operators should not load untreated break bulk goods or break bulk goods treated by suspended treatment providers for discharge in Australia. More information about the management of goods shipped prior to the suspension of treatment providers is available in the industry advice notice.
 
The department continues to review any BMSB detections and the risk pathways to adjust import measures as needed. Industry is expected to comply with the BMSB seasonal measures and, where possible, only load compliant cargo and/or ensure cargo is not contaminated with BMSB and other biosecurity risks.

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