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Importers of timber sourced products would be familiar with the Illegal Logging Scheme and the associated requirement, introduced in October 2014, to have a written due diligence system in place. This system assesses whether any imported products are sourced from illegally logged timber. Affected importers would also be aware that The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources ( DAWR ) are enforcing this scheme and agreed to work with, rather than against, industry for the initial 18 month ‘soft-start’ compliance period and carry out audits to check the due diligence processes which are in place. Please be advised that this ‘soft-start’ compliance period has been extended from 30 May 2016 to a date yet to be determined, subject to a review currently underway.
With this extension of the ‘soft-start’ period, DAWR will continue to assess how businesses are complying with the regulatory requirements via an audit process and are focussing on businesses that are importing large amounts of regulated timber, paper or wooden furniture products. They are providing feedback to importers, outlining where their due diligence practices meet the requirements and where improvements are required to comply in future.
DAWR have stressed that the ‘soft-start’ compliance period does not apply to serious or deliberate breaches of Australia’s illegal logging laws and will pursue importers where such criminal breaches are found to have occurred.
Please be aware that DAWR have a “voluntary assessment” avenue available where importers may request that an assessment be made during the ‘soft-start’ compliance period to ensure their practices are in place and compliant. Please make contact with your BRi Customer Service Representative or Customs Broker should you wish to follow this path.
Alternatively, BRi are happy to assist any client who feels they may not be meeting the requirements of this scheme. We can provide advice or a “package” with document templates which may be sent to your suppliers to ensure the timber used in your imported products complies with the scheme. Once again, please feel free to make contact with your BRi representative should you wish to enquire further.
Keeping you updated,
BRi Customs Department
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