Illegal logging

​Illegal logging is a major global problem. The theft, laundering and trade of illegal timber happens across the world, in all types of forests. Driven mostly by profit, illegal logging has negative impacts on forest ecosystems, communities and economies.

Illegal logging has been linked to:

  • organised crime
  • civil wars
  • murder
  • corruption
  • species extinction
  • environmental destruction

The United Nations and Interpol estimate that illegal logging costs the global community up to $206 billion each year. This makes it the largest environmental crime by value in the world.

Australia is not immune to the trade of illegally logged timber. It is estimated that up to 10%, or $800 million, of our timber imports could come from high-risk sources every year. We have also seen isolated cases of high-value Australian timber being illegally logged.

Australia’s laws

Since 2012, we have had laws to combat illegal logging and promote the trade of legal timber products. These laws are set out in the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 and the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012.

If you import wood, pulp or paper products into Australia, or process Australian grown raw logs, these laws affect you. You have legal responsibilities and need to know your obligations.

Under Australian law, illegal logging means ‘the harvesting of timber in contravention of the laws of the country where the timber is harvested’.

This includes a wide range of illegal activities, such as:

  • logging of protected species
  • logging in protected areas
  • logging with fake or illegal permits
  • using illegal harvest methods

By complying with the laws, you are doing your part to combat the destructive trade of illegally logged timber. You will also be supporting local investment, profitability and jobs.

We continue to review Australia’s illegal logging laws, and consult with industry. Read previous reviews and consultations.

Your responsibilities

Australia’s illegal logging laws place different obligations on different people:

Importers

If you import wood, pulp, or paper products into Australia you have legal responsibilities. You need to ensure you are not importing products that contain illegally logged timber.

Read information for importers.

Domestic processors

If you process Australian grown raw logs, you have legal responsibilities. You need to ensure you are not processing illegally logged timber.

Read information for processors.

Customs brokers

Customs brokers are not directly affected by the illegal logging laws.

However, your clients may ask for help understanding their legal responsibilities. You will also need to help your clients answer an illegal logging Community Protection Question.

Read information for customs brokers.

Overseas suppliers

Overseas suppliers are not directly affected by the illegal logging laws.

However, your Australian customers may ask for information about where the timber in your wood, pulp and paper products has come from. They will also need evidence that it has been legally harvested.

Read information for overseas suppliers.

Exporting from Australia

Businesses exporting timber products from Australia are not directly affected by Australia’s illegal logging laws. However, you may have other legal responsibilities and your products may be subject to other countries’ illegal logging laws.

For more information on exporting Australian timber, please see Wood Export Licensing.

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