Compliance assessments have now commenced
The Department of Agriculture has now begun contacting selected businesses to request information about their due diligence systems. This process, which began in March, represents an initial ‘dry run’ of the department’s due diligence compliance arrangements. It will help the department and the selected businesses to better understand ‘good’ industry practice and any issues arising from the due diligence process.
The department will be contacting a variety of businesses dealing with a range of regulated timber products. Contacted businesses will receive a formal ‘request for information’ package. This will ask the business to provide information about their due diligence system and how it was applied to a particular product they have imported or processed. Once this information is provided, the department will assess the business’ due diligence system and provide feedback on how well they are complying with the due diligence requirements.
It is important to note that during the first 18 months of the due diligence requirements’ operation (November 2014 to May 2016), the department will not be penalising businesses who are found to have under-developed due diligence systems. Instead, the department will highlight any short-comings and potentially revisit that business at a later date to ensure they have improved their system. As the department builds an understanding of common issues and solutions, it will also publish further information to share with industry.
The department has some capacity to undertake voluntary assessments. If you are interested in an early assessment of your due diligence system, please contact the department at email@example.com. You can also direct any questions about the compliance assessment process to this address, or by phoning the department on 1800 657 313.
The department continues to respond to inquiries about the illegal logging legislation through our telephone (1800 657 313) and email hotline. Questions that have recently been raised include:
Who is considered the importer when conducting due diligence?
For the purposes of the illegal logging laws, the owner of the goods at the time they are imported into Australia (the importer) is responsible for conducting due diligence. The owner can be determined by referring to the declaration paperwork, specifically the entity entered in Section A – ‘Owner Details’ on Full Import Declaration forms. When the form is lodged electronically, it is the entity entered in the equivalent field.
Please note that the Regulation applies to all persons, foreign or Australian, who import regulated timber products into Australia.
When should I answer ‘no’ to the due diligence community protection question?
If you are in a situation where you have not completed your due diligence on a consignment before it arrives in Australia, then you (or your customs broker/freight forwarder on your behalf) must answer ‘no’ to the community protection question (unless the consignment is exempt).
It is your responsibility to inform your broker how to answer the question. You need to answer the question honestly. Providing a false or misleading declaration is a criminal offence.
Regardless of the response provided for the community protection question, the goods will not be held at the border for this purpose.
For further information about answering the question, including exemptions, please see our fact sheet: Due diligence – Answering the illegal logging community protection question.
Want to know more about illegal logging?
The due diligence process allows you the flexibility to use a range of information to undertake your due diligence. Below are two examples of resources that can be used to develop your understanding of illegal logging at a global level and enhance your ability to undertake due diligence.
The Illegal Logging Portal
The Illegal Logging Portal, hosted and maintained by Chatham House, contains useful information on illegal logging and the trade in illegal timber. It provides an overview of the key issues and developments with illegal logging, recent media articles and reports. It also includes a searchable database of documents and news items from around the world.
The Environmental Crime Crisis
In 2014 the United Nations Environment Programme and Interpol produced a report for the United Nations Environment Assembly. This report provides some of the latest data, analysis, and insights into the illegal trade in wildlife and forest resources. The full report can be downloaded at: The Environmental Crime Crisis.
Further information. You can access additional information by:
- reading our frequently asked questions and further information and resources webpages
emailing the department’s illegal logging policy section or the illegal logging compliance section with a question related to the illegal logging laws.
The department will respond to you within 10 working days calling the department during business hours (8.30 am to 5.30 pm) on 1800 657 313 or if outside of Australia on +61 2 6272 3933.