URGENT ATTENTION REQUIRED – ALL IMPORTERS
Over on our website we introduced you to the new requirement issued by the Department of Agriculture regarding Illegal Logging.
From the 30 November anyone importing a “regular timber product” into Australia will be required to have carried out due diligence in relation to combating illegal logging worldwide prior to import. Wooden components on products are also governed by this law.
This follow up notification is issued with importance and we ask that you read it with great care as it can/will affect some or all of your cargo that you import into Australia.
The new laws to combat illegal logging are due to come into effect on the 30 November 2014 and these will be carried out across the board. No leeway will be given by the Department of Agriculture.
Regulated Timber Products are listed in the attached document, and they include, but are not limited to, furniture, paper, particle boards and plywood.
Before importing a regulated timber product into Australia, the importer must have a due diligence system in place, retaining a written record of the due diligence process.
Due diligence is a four step process:
1. An importer must obtain information about the timber of timber products that they intend to import.
2. Optional – An importer can identify and assess risk against a Timber Legality Framework or a Country Specific Guideline
3. Where an importer has not used Step 2, or where they have used the Step 2 process but they have identified a risk that the timber is illegally logged and the risk is other then low, an importer must undertake a risk assessment: and
4. Where an importer has, during Step 3, identified that there is a risk that the timber was illegally logged and the risk was not low, an importer must mitigate the risk in accordance with the Regulation.
The Department of Agriculture’s Illegal logging website is a great source of up-to-date information and guidance material, and also has the answers to frequently asked questions.
In addition to the above Due Diligence, it will be required that the supplier of the Regulated Timber Product issues a statement – complete with numerical link to the consignment (or the statement can be included on the commercial invoice) – confirming the following:
“The wooden products listed against this document number have been sourced from legally logged timber and is in compliance with Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012”
Failure to comply will have consequences and substantial fines will be imposed as noted below (taken from here):
What sort of penalties can be applied under the Act?
Australian businesses should be aware that, under the Act, significant criminal penalties may apply if they knowingly, intentionally or recklessly import or process illegally logged timber.
Penalties are ultimately at the discretion of a court. However, the maximum penalties that can be applied for a breach of the high-level prohibition are:
- five years imprisonment, and/or
- AUD$85,000 for an individual, and/or
- AUD$425,000 for a corporation or body corporate.
If you have any questions regarding this subject, please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned.