Illegal logging laws explained for importers

Before you import timber and wood-based products (including pulp and paper) into Australia, it is important you understand your responsibilities as an importer and the conditions that may apply to your products.

Fast facts of illegal logging laws

The laws have two key aspects:

The prohibition of illegally harvested timber and the processing of illegally harvested raw logs applies to all timber or timber products.

Due diligence must be conducted on all imports to reduce the risk that illegally harvested timber is imported or processed and applies to domestically grown raw logs and a list of regulated timber products.

It is important to note that a regulated timber product may not immediately look like traditional timber or wood-based products. Be mindful that the laws cover items made from wood including furniture, paper and building materials. We commonly refer to regulated timber products as wood, pulp and paper products.

For regulated timber products, the responsibility for meeting legal requirements under the Act rests with the importer. This means, if you have reason to suspect the products you intend to import come from illegally harvested sources or are made of illegally logged timber, you should not import the products.

The laws make it a criminal offence to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly import illegally logged timber and any product made from illegally logged timber. Penalties can include heavy fines, forfeiture of goods and/or imprisonment.

Due diligence

To comply with the laws, the Act and the Regulation require importers to undertake a process to minimise the risk that certain wood, pulp or paper products are sourced or made from illegally harvested timber. Undertaking such a due diligence process must be completed prior to importing the products into Australia.

The heart of due diligence for timber legality is understanding your products and where they come from to effectively minimise the risk of placing products containing illegally logged timber into the Australian market.

The process involves obtaining information that supports the legality of the products you intend to import, using this information to undertake a risk assessment and, if necessary, mitigating risk.

The Regulation outlines four key requirements to undertake due diligence:

  • Establish a due diligence system
  • Gather information
  • Assess any risks
  • Mitigate any risks.

Importers are also required to make a declaration to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection about their compliance with the due diligence requirements. This is in the form of a Community Protection Question (CPQ), to be completed as part of the import declaration process.

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Refer to Guidance for importers for departmental advice and guidance on the due diligence process and requirements.

Related links

More information

We are here to help you comply with our illegal logging laws.

A suite of illegal logging publications, resources and guidance material is available under the Illegal logging guidance material and resources, including departmental education and guidance materials and resources developed in partnership between the department and industry.

Contact us for further information on how the laws operate and whether they affect you:

  • phone during business hours on 1800 657 313 or if outside of Australia +61 2 6272 3933
  • email illegal logging
  • subscribe to the illegal logging mailing list to stay informed of the release of any new information or guidance materials or any upcoming information events.

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