Government action on illegal timber imports
In what we at Softwoods see as a welcome and long overdue move, the Australian government will introduce new legislation this year to prevent the ongoing importation of illegally logged timber. As an environmentally concerned company, Softwoods make every effort to ensure that all imported timber that we buy has a verified chain of custody and is being logged from approved and sustainable areas. While chain of custody documentation is presently available on some imported timber, there is a concern that it’s authenticity is not always certain.
To add to the complexity of this issue is the fact that the market in Australia for timber decking has for a long time dictated a strong preference for imported hardwoods. In order to buy these hardwoods ethically, the above mentioned chain of custody must be sought, however the knowledge that this is not at all times authentic creates a difficult bind for both the consumer and the buyer. This is why we are very pleased that the government is going to regulate these imports and provide a framework that ensures that the product that gets to market here in Australia is coming from the area that is specified by it’s chain of custody, and that it is legally sourced and not coming at the cost of another nations natural resources.
Below is the text of a December 2010 media release on the issue, and a link to the department’s site follows that.
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.
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.
“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.”
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