Illegal timber law gives confidence to wood buyers

A new law will go a long way towards making sure timber imported into Australia has been legally sourced, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

The Illegal Logging Prohibition Act, passed by the Senate tonight, will:

  • Prohibit the import of wood products containing illegally logged timber
  • Require importers of timber products and processors of raw logs to fulfil due diligence requirements

The Australian Conservation Foundation welcomed the law.

“This law gives more confidence to Australians buying imported wood products that they won't be inadvertently supporting illegal logging and the destruction of tropical rainforests in the Asia-Pacific region,” said ACF spokesman Josh Meadows.

“It will cut off sales options for dodgy, destructive timber operators in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

“It will also help sustainable forestry in Australia by reducing unfair competition with cheap illegal imports.

“Our neighbours in Papua New Guinea, West Papua and Indonesia have been fighting against illegal logging of their forests and have been asking Australia to help them through legislation like this.

“This law has been a long time coming.  At the 2007 federal election and again in 2010 all major parties promised to ban the importation of timber products that couldn’t be verified as having been legally sourced.

“ACF urges the federal government to quickly implement this law and its regulations and set strong monitoring and enforcement requirements.”

ACF has worked for many years towards a ban on the import of timber that cannot be verified as having been legally sourced.  ACF’s 2006 report, Bulldozing Progress, reported on human rights abuses, corruption and criminality in PNG’s logging sector.