New illegal logging laws to apply to timber importers from 30 November 2014
The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture has issued a Notice to Industry regarding new illegal logging laws.
Who does this notice affect?
The illegal logging laws affect businesses who import certain regulated timber and timber products into Australia.
What has changed?
Under the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012, it is a criminal offence to import illegally logged timber and timber products into Australia.
A new element of the laws, as outlined in the Illegal Logging Prohibition Amendment Regulation 2013 (the Regulation), will come into effect on 30 November 2014.
From this date, importers of regulated timber or timber products (as defined in Schedule 1 of the Regulation) will need to assess and manage the risk that the timber has been illegally logged before importing that product. This is known as carrying out ‘due diligence’.
The regulated timber products are identified using Customs tariff codes and fit within Chapters 44, 47, 48 and 94 of the tariff codes. This includes most timber and wood-based products such as sawn timber, veneer, mouldings, wood panels, plywood, pulp, paper and wooden furniture.
Importers will also need to answer a simple declaration question about their compliance with their due diligence obligations. This will be via a community protection question as part of their full import declaration to Customs. Regardless of whether an importer answers yes or no to the declaration question, their goods will not be held up at the border.
Importers should be aware that the new due diligence requirements apply to all imports of timber arriving in Australia from 30 November 2014. This is irrespective of whether the order was placed before or after that date.
The Department of Agriculture website (www.agriculture.gov.au/forestry/policies/illegal-logging) further containing a range of information to help importers understand and comply with the illegal logging laws. To stay up to date on the illegal logging laws, the department has also established a mailing list, which is available on the website.