“Illegal logging is a serious global problem, causing forest degradation, loss of habitat and biodiversity and contributes to climate change,” Minister Ludwig said.
“It is estimated that every two seconds an area the size of a football field is harvested illegally somewhere on earth by sophisticated criminal networks.
“This trade undermines legitimate timber industries, like the Australian domestic industry and the jobs they support.
“In countries where this practice occurs, it deprives local governments and communities of fair royalties from the harvesting of the resource.
“It is already an offence to import or process illegally logged timber or timber products. These regulations prescribe the due diligence steps that importers and processors can take to inform themselves of the legality of the product they are importing.
Minister Ludwig said that while the regulations were registered today, there is a long lead time before their commencement in November 2014, to enable importers, processors and our trading partners sufficient time to assess the need for changes to operational practice.
“The Government recognises there is considerable interest in these regulations from the domestic industry and from our trading partners.
“Over the last twelve months, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has conducted extensive consultation with importers, processors, trading partners and civil society about the due diligence requirements.”
The department will continue those consultation activities to ensure that all in the timber supply chain have the opportunity to become informed of the new requirements until the commencement date of the regulations.
The regulation also lists timber legality frameworks that have been recognised for their ability to demonstrate a product has been legally logged.
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