Putting a stop on illegal logging

The Albanese Government has introduced amendments in Parliament to strengthen laws stopping illegally logged timber from entering the Australian market.

Greater investment in timber testing technology, increased enforcement, expanded monitoring and investigation powers, as well as naming and shaming those who break the rules are all measures included in the new Bill.

It is estimated that up to 10% of Australia’s annual timber and wood-based imports may be illegally logged and the trade in illegal imports reduces price of legal timber globally by 7-16%.

Measures in the Bill will modernise and strengthen the Act, to better protect the Australian market from illegally harvested timber and timber products and support sustainable and legal timber trade into the future.

Together, these amendments to the laws will help make Australia an even less attractive destination for illegally sourced timber and further protect Australia’s reputation in international markets as a supplier of sustainable and legally sourced timber products.

This Bill will both uphold our reputation as a global leader through adopting further best-practice regulatory approaches, and help address the environmental, social, and economic harms of illegal logging and associated trade.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt said the Illegal Logging Prohibition Amendment (Strengthening Measures to Prevent Illegal Timber Trade) Bill 2023 (the Bill) would modernise and strengthen current laws if it successfully passed through Parliament.

“Australia’s illegal logging laws support a sustainable forestry industry and reduce the risk of it being undercut by illegal products.” Minister Watt said.

“Australia was among the first country in the world to introduce laws targeting illegal timber and trade in 2012.

“Our laws restrict the import and sale of illegally logged timber and timber products, and processing of domestically grown raw logs that have been illegally harvested.

“Reforms will enable use of new innovations including cutting-edge timber identification technologies, to strengthen our ability to identify and act against those who jeopardise Australia’s legal and sustainable timber trade.

“We know that Australian timber producers and environmental groups alike want to see these tools and techniques used effectively in Australia.”  

Minister Watt said illegal logging was a complex global problem, with significant impacts for Australia’s forest industries.

“Illegal logging has devastating impacts on climate, nature, and people, and costs developing countries billions of dollars in lost revenue every year,” he said.

“Australia is not immune, with trade in low-priced illegally sourced timber undermining supply chains, business decisions, industry profitability, investment, and jobs in the Australian economy.

“Modernising Australia’s laws will help make Australia an even less attractive destination for illegally sourced timber and further protect our international reputation as a supplier of sustainable and legally sourced timber.

“The Bill will allow us to continue to lead global efforts to combat illegal logging now and into the future.”

The new Bill proposes reforms to ensure our laws remain fit-for-purpose as global efforts to combat illegal logging evolve.

It will implement improvements identified through both the Statutory Review of the Illegal Logging Act, and the Sunsetting Review of the Illegal Logging Regulation.  

Details on the review and consultation process for the proposed reforms can be found on the departments website