The illegal logging laws make it a criminal offence to import illegally logged timber products into Australia. The laws also require importers, prior to importing, to actively manage the risk that their products contain illegally logged timber.
Wood is a commonly used element in shipping as well as being a common component in many types of products. However, certain types of timber are not allowed into Australia, which includes illegal logging timber. The question is how do you know if your product contains/is illegally logged timber? Unfortunately it is entirely in the responsibility of the importer to understand the origin and the risk involved if they are unable to obtain origin and production process of the timber.
The Australian legislation requires importers prior to importing, to actively manage the risk that their products contain illegally logged timber. This is known as "due diligence". Failure to undertake a suitable due diligence process can result in significant financial penalties.
If you import into Australia, you must have a due diligence system. Your due diligence system must have the procedures in place to cover the following elements or steps:
- Step 1 – Set up due diligence processes – detail the processes by which the importer will meet the due diligence requirements
- Step 2 – Gather information – information in relation to the description of the product, timber species used, where harvested, supplier details, quantity and other relevant information
- Step 3 – Identify and assess the risk – the importer must assess the risk of importing the timber product
- Step 4 – Mitigate risk – if the risk assessed in step 3 is not low then what measures are taken into account to reduce the risk
Once established, your system should guide your due diligence decisions. It is up to you how often you review your system, but it should be kept up to date and relevant. Failure of the importer to undertake reasonable due diligence process can result in significant fines.
The department of Agriculture will be hosting a series of dedicated illegal logging webinars throughout the second half of 2018. The webinars will provide businesses with an opportunity to learn more about their responsibilities and to ask questions about the laws. We encourage all affected importers to register.
If you require further information, please contact your Whale Logistics Customer Success Manager. To see other news visit our blog, or subscribe to our newsletter for weekly news content.
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