What is it?
Illegal logging costs around USD60 billion globally each year and directly threatens timber jobs and businesses by undercutting the price of legally logged timber. Not only that, it has serious environmental impacts.
The Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act (AILPA) 2012, is designed to promote the trade in legally harvested timber and timber products in Australia. The Act aims to reduce the harmful environmental, social and economic impacts of illegal logging.This legislation supports Australia’s commitment to promote the global trade of legally harvested timber which is in line with the European Union and the US, who have also taken action to prohibit the trade of illegally harvested timber.
The Act received Royal Assent on 28 November 2012 and it provides for:
(a) criminal offences for importing illegally logged timber, importing illegally logged timber in regulated timber products, and the domestic processing of Australian grown illegally logged raw logs
(b) civil offences for not complying with due diligence requirements– and the requirement to provide a declaration to the Customs Minister at the time of import
(c) due diligence requirements relating to auditing and taking remedial action in prescribed circumstances.
(d) monitoring, investigation and enforcement powers including civil penalty orders and an infringement notice scheme.
When is it in effect?
The Act,which gives high level of prohibition on importing or processing illegally logged timber, is NOW in effect. However the regulations that outline the operational framework for importers and processors will come into effect after 30 November 2014, including due diligence processes and a detailed list of products that will be subject to the regulations. Furthermore, from that date:
(a) importers of regulated timber products and processors of raw logs will be required to conduct due diligence in order to reduce the risk that illegally logged timber is imported or processed
(b) importers of regulated timber products must provide declarations, at the time of import, to the Customs Minister that they have undertaken due diligence.
The government will table regulations before the end of May 2013 to allow industry sufficient time to establish due diligence systems and processes.
Who does this legislation affect?
Australian importers of timber or timber products and Australian processors of domestically grown raw logs by placing requirements on them to ensure the logs are legally harvested. It also affects Malaysian business owners who regularly export their timber and timber products to Australia.
What are my responsibilities as an importer or processor?
It is now a criminal offence to import illegally logged timber and timber products into Australia or to process Australian raw logs that have been harvested illegally. Australian importers and processors must not knowingly, intentionally or recklessly import or process illegally logged timber.
If you receive information that timber is illegally logged, believe the timber is illegally logged or are made aware that there is a substantial risk that the timber was illegally logged;be aware that penalties may apply if the timber or timber product is in fact illegally logged.
There are no other requirements that importers and domestic processors are obliged to meet until detailed regulations are implemented, which will come into effect from 30 November 2014 in which the Act becomes law.
What penalties can be applied under this legislation?
Penalties are at the discretion of a court; the maximum penalties that may be applied currently are:
(a) five years imprisonment, and/or
(b) AU$ 55 000 for an individual, and/or
(c) AU$ 275 000 for a corporation or body corporate.
The illegal logging legislation defines these penalties as ‘penalty units’. The Crimes Act 1914 currently sets the value of one penalty unit at AU$ 110.
How does the legislation meet Australia’s international trading obligations?
Australia introduced the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act (AILPA) 2012 to aid international efforts to promote legal timber trade. This reflects both Australia’s commitment to restrict the trade in illegal timber and equivalent legislation being introduced or developed in the European and United States markets.
This legislation is consistent with Australia’s trade obligations and supports Australia’s commitment to promote the trade of legally harvested timber.
How the regulations are going to be drafted?
Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry (DAFF) is planning to have four face to face interactive workshops as well as two working group meetings. DAFF will also issue a working issue paper before each workshop. The dates are as shown in Table 1:
Table 1: List of Dates and Venue for Drafting of Australia Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012
|No.||Event||Date issues Paper Available on DAFF website||Date of Face-to-Face Drafting Workshop||Venue of Drafting workshop||Malaysian Working Group Discussion|
|a||Drafting Workshop on regulated Products||12Dec2012||19Dec2012||Sydney||19Dec2012(Mon),11am,MTIB|
|b||Drafting Workshop on Due Diligence||16Jan2013||30Jan2013||Melbourne||18Jan2013(Fri),3pm,MTIB.MTC|
|c||Working Group Meeting||-||13Feb2013||Canberra||13Feb2013(Wed),7am,MTC|
|d||Drafting Workshop on Monitoring Compliance and Reporting||20Feb2013||27Feb2013||Sydney||22Feb2013(Wed),MTIB|
|e||Drafting Workshop on Regulations Package||13Mar2013||27Mar2013||Canberra||19Mar2013(Tue),2.30pm,MTIB|
|f||Working Group Meeting||-||13Feb2013||Canberra||13Feb2013(Wed),7am,MTC|
*To Be Confirmed
What do Australia’s trading partners need to do?
The Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 does not regulate Australia’s trading partners. The Act places no legal obligations on Australia’s trading partners, it only places requirements on Australian importers and processors and seeks to minimise the risk of illegal timber being placed on the Australian market.
Please contact the following:
Md Yusoff Ismail (Mr)
Senior Assistant Director Licensing
Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB)
Tel: 603 – 9282 2235 ext 1215
Fax: 603 – 9285 1744
Norhaizurah Zulkarngain (Ms)
Assistant Director International Market
Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB)
Tel: 603 – 9282 2235 ext. 1286
Fax: 603 – 9285 1477
For more information, you may to refer to Department of Agriculture, Water and the Enviroment website at https://www.agriculture.gov.au/forestry/policies/illegal-logging
Are you exporting or plan to export timber and timber products to Australia?
If yes, please click here for more information
*Source: Department of Agriculture, Water and the Enviroment Australia