Australia takes strong action against illegal timber imports

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: 9 December 2010

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, today announced the Gillard Government will introduce legislation restricting the importation and sale of illegally logged timber.

Minister Ludwig said the new laws will promote global trade in legally logged timber products and stop unfair competition in Australia between illegal and legal timber suppliers.

"Illegal logging is a major problem for many developing nations and directly threatens Australian timber jobs," Minister Ludwig said.

"Internationally, illegal logging is estimated to cost more than $60 billion each year1.

"After widespread industry consultation, the Australian Government will introduce legislation that carries penalties for importing illegally logged timber."

Minister Ludwig said the legislation is one of many tough measures the Government is taking to combat illegal logging.

"Under the legislation, importers will now need to meet a due diligence test to ensure the timber they are sourcing has not been illegally logged," Minister Ludwig said.

The new rules will apply to all timber products including sawn timber, wood panels, pulp, paper, wooden furniture and composite products. The legal origins of these products must be clearly verified according to requirements set out in the legislation.

"The legislation will encourage investment in the Australian timber industry and give consumers and businesses greater certainty about the timber products they buy," Minister Ludwig said.

"This initiative will complement a global effort being championed by Australia, the United States and the European Union, to combat illegal logging and demand importers disclose the legal origins of their wood."

The new legislation will be introduced into Parliament in 2011 after public consultation.

More information is available online at

1 A 2005 report by JP Management Consulting estimated about 9% or $400m of Australia's forest products and wooden furniture imports to be from illegal sources. The major problem areas were cited as Indonesia and Malaysia and possibly China.