Australia’s peak forest industry body, the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), supports measures to curb the importation of illegally logged forest products to Australia, but says it is important that such measures do not impose unnecessary and costly regulation on the domestic industry.
Details of the Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill, just introduced in the House of Representatives, need to be considered carefully according to AFPA chief executive officer David Pollard.
“Australia imports up to $4 billion worth of forest products annually and it has previously been estimated that up to 10% of these imports are from suspect sources. It is important that this is addressed,” said Dr Pollard.
“However, the Australian forest industry is already subject to the highest standards of legal compliance. It is important that this Bill does not create needless red tape for local producers.
“While cracking down on illegal imports is important, Australia must also encourage sustainable management practices in overseas forestry operations to emulate the high standards we have here.
“In addition to stringent environmental planning and regulatory controls, more than 90% of Australia’s commercial forests meet internationally-recognised voluntary third party certification schemes and standards. Buying local products provide local economic and environmental benefits.
“AFPA will analyse details of the Bill and looks forward to continuing to work with Government to ensure that an effective deterrent for illegal logging can be achieved without adversely affecting the competitiveness of local industry.”