Illegal Logging Sunsetting Review

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Public consultation on the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012 is closed.

We asked for your feedback on potential reforms to the Regulation and associated Act. This was to make sure the laws:

  • remain effective in protecting the Australian market from illegally logged timber
  • achieve their purpose of promoting trade in sustainable, legally harvested timber.

This is what you told us.

How you had your say

We sought feedback from people on potential reforms to the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012.

We invited feedback from the public and targeted our engagement at those with a close interest in the laws.

What you said

You had your say on a wide range of potential reforms to the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 and the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012. These have been summarised into six key reforms:

  • receiving due-diligence information upfront
  • adding at-border powers
  • optimising the regulatory burden
  • adding ‘deemed to comply’ arrangements for certified products
  • optimising the products regulated
  • other potential reforms.

Receiving due diligence information upfront

There was a high level of support for this reform looking at receiving key due diligence information about regulated timber products ahead of importation such as timber species and location of harvest. Some stakeholders raised concerns about potential increases in regulatory burden resulting from this reform. Some stakeholders also suggested that customs brokers should not be required to provide this information as they do not collect it. As importers are already required to collect and store this information, it was suggested that the task of providing this information may sit best with them. Most stakeholders suggested that a purpose-built system that is time efficient and linked to existing processes would be the preferred way to collect due diligence information upfront.

Strengthening at-border powers (sampling and seizure)

There was general support for this reform. Stakeholders largely supported the introduction of timber testing to the regulatory framework, with a preference for minimising any delays that may result from its use. Some stakeholders highlighted that the risk of having goods held or tested will create a strong enticement for regulated entities to fulfil their due diligence requirements, and that timber testing has improved accountability and effectiveness of regulatory schemes overseas.

Optimising the regulatory burden

There was support for reducing requirements for repeated imports, but not for infrequent importers.

Reducing due diligence requirements for repeated imports could reduce the regulatory burden. Some stakeholders suggested this reform is not necessary, as creating the initial due diligence system has the highest regulatory burden and the subsequent burden for undertaking each due diligence assessment is relatively low, particularly for repeat imports.

Many stakeholders mentioned low frequency importers can still pose a high risk of importing illegally logged products as these importers make up a large portion of the regulated community. Some alternatively argue that these importers do not interact with the laws enough to properly understand their obligations and could therefore be excluded.

There was general support for requiring high-volume importers and processors to have their due diligence processes audited or verified by a third party. There was a mixed to low level of support for requiring high-volume importers and processors to be licensed by government.

Adding ‘deemed to comply’ arrangements for certified products

There was a mixed level of support for this reform. Some stakeholders suggested this reform could create 'loopholes' to the assurances in place for regulated timber products. Others supported this reform due to the anticipated reduction in regulatory burden for potentially low-risk products.

Optimising the products regulated

There was a mixed level of support for this reform. Most stakeholders were supportive of the current scope of products captured by the laws. Some stakeholders were also supportive of adding potentially high-risk products such as charcoal and musical instruments. Stakeholders most likely to be affected by this particular reform largely did not provide input to the review. Further, targeted consultation with these groups would be needed to gain their views. Some stakeholders also suggested paper products should be removed to the framework due to their perceived low risk of being from illegally logged sources.

Other potential reforms

There is general support for each of these reforms. This includes:

  • adding or amending definitions in the Act to clarify some trade and illegal logging terminology
  • requiring importers to check that logs to be imported do not contravene log export bans in their country of origin
  • reducing the legislative burden associated with updating Country Specific Guidelines (CSGs) and State Specific Guidelines (SSGs)
  • enabling the department to apply for injunctions and enter into enforceable undertakings
  • introducing powers to publish timber testing results and instances of non-compliance.

What happens next

We will review and consider your feedback. We will use it to develop a set of recommendations for Government to consider in due course.

We will continue to provide updates as the review progresses.

More information

The webinar was held on 31 August 2021, you can view the webinar recording here.

Sign up to our illegal logging mailing list for updates on this review and Australia’s illegal logging laws.

If you have further questions on Australia’s illegal logging laws, please email illegallogging@awe.gov.au or call 02 6272 5790.

Public consultation on the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012 is closed.

We asked for your feedback on potential reforms to the Regulation and associated Act. This was to make sure the laws:

  • remain effective in protecting the Australian market from illegally logged timber
  • achieve their purpose of promoting trade in sustainable, legally harvested timber.

This is what you told us.

How you had your say

We sought feedback from people on potential reforms to the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012.

We invited feedback from the public and targeted our engagement at those with a close interest in the laws.

What you said

You had your say on a wide range of potential reforms to the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 and the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012. These have been summarised into six key reforms:

  • receiving due-diligence information upfront
  • adding at-border powers
  • optimising the regulatory burden
  • adding ‘deemed to comply’ arrangements for certified products
  • optimising the products regulated
  • other potential reforms.

Receiving due diligence information upfront

There was a high level of support for this reform looking at receiving key due diligence information about regulated timber products ahead of importation such as timber species and location of harvest. Some stakeholders raised concerns about potential increases in regulatory burden resulting from this reform. Some stakeholders also suggested that customs brokers should not be required to provide this information as they do not collect it. As importers are already required to collect and store this information, it was suggested that the task of providing this information may sit best with them. Most stakeholders suggested that a purpose-built system that is time efficient and linked to existing processes would be the preferred way to collect due diligence information upfront.

Strengthening at-border powers (sampling and seizure)

There was general support for this reform. Stakeholders largely supported the introduction of timber testing to the regulatory framework, with a preference for minimising any delays that may result from its use. Some stakeholders highlighted that the risk of having goods held or tested will create a strong enticement for regulated entities to fulfil their due diligence requirements, and that timber testing has improved accountability and effectiveness of regulatory schemes overseas.

Optimising the regulatory burden

There was support for reducing requirements for repeated imports, but not for infrequent importers.

Reducing due diligence requirements for repeated imports could reduce the regulatory burden. Some stakeholders suggested this reform is not necessary, as creating the initial due diligence system has the highest regulatory burden and the subsequent burden for undertaking each due diligence assessment is relatively low, particularly for repeat imports.

Many stakeholders mentioned low frequency importers can still pose a high risk of importing illegally logged products as these importers make up a large portion of the regulated community. Some alternatively argue that these importers do not interact with the laws enough to properly understand their obligations and could therefore be excluded.

There was general support for requiring high-volume importers and processors to have their due diligence processes audited or verified by a third party. There was a mixed to low level of support for requiring high-volume importers and processors to be licensed by government.

Adding ‘deemed to comply’ arrangements for certified products

There was a mixed level of support for this reform. Some stakeholders suggested this reform could create 'loopholes' to the assurances in place for regulated timber products. Others supported this reform due to the anticipated reduction in regulatory burden for potentially low-risk products.

Optimising the products regulated

There was a mixed level of support for this reform. Most stakeholders were supportive of the current scope of products captured by the laws. Some stakeholders were also supportive of adding potentially high-risk products such as charcoal and musical instruments. Stakeholders most likely to be affected by this particular reform largely did not provide input to the review. Further, targeted consultation with these groups would be needed to gain their views. Some stakeholders also suggested paper products should be removed to the framework due to their perceived low risk of being from illegally logged sources.

Other potential reforms

There is general support for each of these reforms. This includes:

  • adding or amending definitions in the Act to clarify some trade and illegal logging terminology
  • requiring importers to check that logs to be imported do not contravene log export bans in their country of origin
  • reducing the legislative burden associated with updating Country Specific Guidelines (CSGs) and State Specific Guidelines (SSGs)
  • enabling the department to apply for injunctions and enter into enforceable undertakings
  • introducing powers to publish timber testing results and instances of non-compliance.

What happens next

We will review and consider your feedback. We will use it to develop a set of recommendations for Government to consider in due course.

We will continue to provide updates as the review progresses.

More information

The webinar was held on 31 August 2021, you can view the webinar recording here.

Sign up to our illegal logging mailing list for updates on this review and Australia’s illegal logging laws.

If you have further questions on Australia’s illegal logging laws, please email illegallogging@awe.gov.au or call 02 6272 5790.