Australia Illegal Logging Prohibition Act

Australia’s Illegal Logging Prohibition Act from 2012 complements international efforts to promote legal timber trade and comes in two parts – primary legislation, followed by detailed regulations.

The Act defines illegally logged as: ‘in relation to timber, means harvested in contravention of laws in force in the place (whether or not in Australia) where the timber was harvested.’ Timber that has been harvested in accordance with the legislative regime of the relevant country would be considered to be legally logged.

This legislation:

  • only places requirements on Australian businesses;
  • establishes equal treatment for suppliers of timber regardless of nationality;
  • applies equally to both Australian-grown and imported timber; and
  • is consistent with Australia’s obligations under the World Trade Organisation.

The Act asserts a high-level prohibition on importing or processing illegally logged timber. In order to prosecute someone against this prohibition, it needs to be proven that an Australian importer or processor knowingly, intentionally or recklessly imported or processed illegally logged timber.

The regulations include the due diligence process for importers and processors of domestic timber regarding certain timber products. Regulated timber may include raw and sawn timber, paper, pulp and furniture. Due diligence requirements vary according to the product. The regulations have also specify exemptions (for example, antique furniture). Additionally, penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment may be applied where an individual or a company is convicted of importing timber or timber products identified as illegally logged.