UPDATE: The Illegal Logging Legislation

09 November 2017

The Illegal Logging Prohibition Amendment that came into effect on 30 Nov. 2014 and the end of the 'soft-start' compliance period from 1 January 2018.

The Illegal Logging Prohibition Amendment Regulation 2013 is law and its requirements came into effect on 30 November 2014. From that date, importers of certain timber or timber products have needed to assess and manage the risk that the timber has not been illegally logged. This is known as carrying out ‘due diligence’.

The regulated timber products are identified using customs tariff codes. The regulated products fit within Chapters 44, 47, 48 and 94 of the tariff codes and relate to specific wood products, pulp, paper and furniture products.

End of the "soft-start" compliance period

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) is now moving to end the existing 'soft-start' compliance period. During this period, they have not been issuing penalties for any failures to comply with the ‘due diligence’ requirements.

From 1 January 2018, businesses and individuals who import regulated timber products into Australia, may face penalties for breaches of the due diligence requirements.

Breaches of the Act and Regulations will be taken seriously – if an importer knowingly or recklessly imports illegally logged timber or products, up to five years jail and/or heavy fines apply.

Essentially compliance with the regulation is the responsibility of importers of regulated timber and products.

Import declaration – from 30 November 2014, importers (via their Customs Broker) have been required to answer a declaration at the time of import of each shipment about their compliance with the due diligence requirements of the Regulation.

On the following pages is the ‘Illegal Logging Importer Declaration’ statement that Transtar require from you in order to answer YES to the question:

HAS THE IMPORTER COMPLIED WITH THE DUE DILIGENCE REQUIREMENTS OF THE ILLEGAL LOGGING PROHIBITION ACT 2012 AND ASSOCIATED REGULATIONS?

»     (A word version of this form can also be found on our web page at: https://www.transtar.net/customer-resources/downloads/australia/illegal-logging-resources

If you are an importer of regulated products can you please fill in this form (if you have not previously done so) and return to Transtar by the end of the soft start period on 31 December 2017.

(If an importer declares ‘NO’ to “Have they complied with the Due Diligence requirements” when their goods enter Australia, the goods will not be held up at the border as a result of no due diligence but this information will be gathered by the department for compliance and education).

Resources

Transtar is providing some resources in order to help clients comply with the requirements of the Act and Regulations.

»     They can be found on our web page at: https://www.transtar.net/customer-resources/downloads/australia/illegal-logging-resources

The department (DAWR) has also prepared a range of education and guidance materials to help importers better understand their responsibilities under the illegal logging laws.

»     These can be found on the Information for importers webpage at: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/forestry/policies/illegal-logging/information-resources

»     You may also find their ‘Frequently asked questions’ web page helpful at: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/forestry/policies/illegal-logging/faqs

Helpful hint – One way of identifying timber or timber products that are at low risk of being sourced illegally is certification under an approved timber legality framework such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Sourcing from suppliers with such certification should greatly aid and simplify your due diligence process.

»     Further information can be found at the department’s webpage at: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/forestry/policies/illegal-logging/information-importers/guidance-for-importers#establish-and-maintain-a-due-diligence-system

What to do now?

If you have not carried out Due Diligence on the timber products you import, do it now before it is too late.

Fill in and return (if you have not already done so) the “Illegal Logging Importer Declaration” statement that Transtar require from you in order to answer YES to the question:

HAS THE IMPORTER COMPLIED WITH THE DUE DILIGENCE REQUIREMENTS OF THE ILLEGAL LOGGING PROHIBITION ACT 2012 AND ASSOCIATED REGULATIONS?

»     (A word version of this form can also be found on our web page at: http://www.transtar.net/customer-resources/downloads/australia )

As always if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us at Transtar.

Kind regards

Transtar Customs Team