GOVERNMENTS DRAFT LEGISLATION ON ILLEGAL TIMBER IMPORTS DOES NOT GO FAR ENOUGH
Humane Society International (HSI) has, for many years, been calling for Australian legislation to ban the import of illegally logged or unsustainably produced timber and other forest products.
After committing to introduce legislation prior to the 2007 election, Labor this year has finally produced a draft Bill.
“The Government’s action in finally introducing some legislation is welcome in the signal it sends, but it just does not go far enough,” said HSI Biodiversity Policy Adviser, Rod Holesgrove.
A fundamental concern is that the Bill only addresses part of the problem and that it should also restrict the import of unsustainably produced forest products. Unsustainably, but legally produced timber, also causes significant loss or degradation of the Planet’s disappearing natural forests.
Another significant problem with the Bill is that it potentially will only penalise importers; other key elements of the supply chain such as processors or retailers who handle illegally produced timber are not impacted.
“HSI is also concerned that the Bill does not require disclosure of timber species or country of origin, nor is their any requirement for compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES,)” said Mr Holesgrove.
Finally, there should be a firm commitment by Government, through the development of associated policies and programs, to work internationally and regionally, both with source and importing countries, to bring about global legislative action to ban trade in illegally and unsustainably produced forest products.