Technical Updates

Monday, 30 October 2017
Government takes steps to tackle illegal logging

FSC Australia supports the recent reforms made to strengthen Australia’s illegal logging regulations.

On Thursday 5th October, the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston announced the government had taken steps to cut red tape whilst ensuring illegally logged timber does not enter the Australian market.

Specifically, the government is establishing a new deemed to comply arrangement for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified products under the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012.

In practice the amendments will streamline and simplify arrangements for those businesses and individuals importing or processing timber products certified under the FSC and PEFC schemes, cutting regulatory costs by more than $4 million per year.

This provides additional incentives for businesses to invest in certifying their timber products, namely to reduce compliance obligations while enhancing more transparent supply chains within the international trade market for timber products.

A recognised by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources; Illegal logging is a significant problem in many countries. It degrades forest environments, reduces biodiversity, undermines government regimes and revenues, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and deprives local communities of opportunities to improve their quality of life.

Research shows Illegal logging has significant environmental, economic and social costs.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimated;

  • 5- 10% of global industrial round wood trade is potentially illegally harvested.
  • In high-risk areas, it is estimated up to 70% of total timber production could be illegally logged.
  • Costs translate to US$23 billion every year for the Global South.

United Nations Environment Program estimates;

  • The value of illegal logging is up to US$100 billion annually, representing up to 30 percent of the total global timber trade1.

For Australia, JP Management Consulting (Asia Pacific) reported to the Government the local impacts;

  • Up to AUD$400 million of Australia’s forest products imports come from sources with some risk of being illegally logged

At FSC we regard legality as essential to responsible forest management, in fact, it is our first principle of responsible forest management. We look forward to continuing to work with the Australian government to ensure that these reforms deliver positive outcomes to help combat illegal logging.

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