Pile of Logs

Illegal Logging Laws in Australia

About the Illegal Logging Laws

The Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 came into operation in November 2012.

Under the Act, it is 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. This prohibition applies to all imported timber and timber products and all domestically grown logs processed in Australia.

‘Illegally logged’ is defined as timber harvested in contravention of laws in force in the place – whether or not in Australia – where the timber was harvested.

From 30 November 2014, if you import certain timber or timber products into Australia or process domestically grown raw logs, you will need to assess and manage the risk that they have been illegally logged. This is known as carrying out ‘due diligence’.

If you are an importer, you will also be asked to make a declaration to Customs about your compliance with the due diligence requirements. This will be in the form of a Community Protection Question asked as part of the import declaration process.

Under the Act, significant criminal penalties may apply if they knowingly, intentionally or recklessly import or process illegally logged timber.

Impact on Importers

If you are importing timber or timber products into Australia and you receive information that it was illegally logged, or you have reason to suspect it was illegally logged, or you think that there is a significant risk that it was illegally logged, you should not import that timber.

If you do import that timber and it is later found that it was illegally logged, you could face significant penalties, including imprisonment and heavy fines.

Due Diligence

Due diligence requires an importer to gather information, assess the risk that the timber product they are importing may have been illegally logged and, if the risk is not low, undertake reasonable steps to mitigate any risk.

Before importing a regulated timber product into Australia, an importer must have a due diligence system and retain a written record of the due diligence process.

  1. An importer must obtain information about the timber or timber product they intend to import;
  2. Optional – An importer can identify and assess risk against a Timber Legality Framework or a Country Specific Guideline (if available);
  3. Where an importer has not used Step 2, or where they have used the Step 2 process but they have identified a risk that the timber is illegally logged and the risk is other than low, an importer must undertake a risk assessment; and
  4. Where an importer has, during Step 3, identified that there is a risk that the timber was illegally logged and the risk was not low, an importer must mitigate the risk in accordance with the Regulation.

For more information and compliance with the Illegal Logging laws visit http://agriculture.gov.au/illegallogging