Draft laws won’t stop illegal timber imports

Feature Story - 21 April, 2011
Timber industry, social justice and environmental groups call on the government to get it right on laws to stop illegal timber imports.

DeforestationA broad coalition of timber industry producers and retailers joined forces with environmental and social justice groups to launch a new 'Common Platform' for the elimination of illegal timber products in Australia.

The 'Common Platform' identifies key elements that should be included in laws to stop illegal timber products being imported and sold in Australia. It also calls for the government to show leadership by ensuring its own purchases are made with sustainability and social considerations in mind.

The proposed new law will not stop the $840 million worth of illegal timber products that end up in the homes and offices of ordinary Australians every day.

The signatories to the 'Common Platform' - including IKEA, Bunnings, Kimberly-Clark, the Uniting Church, WWF, The Wilderness Society and Greenpeace - have been lobbying for legislation on this vital issue for over two years and are disappointed that many of the Labor Government's previous commitments have been watered down or omitted altogether.

The alliance of Australia's leading timber merchants, importers and retailers, church groups and environmental groups has sent the 'Common Platform' to Prime Minister Gillard and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joe Ludwig. It follows the release of the Draft Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill that has been referred to the Senate Committee for Rural Affairs and Transport for review.

See the Common Platform and the 11 key elements essential for effective legislation.

Illegal logging is a crime. It fuels corruption and human rights abuse and destroys rainforests and biodiversity. Everyday, forests and communities in neighboring countries such as PNG are directly affected by the unregulated way that we import products derived from their forests," said Mark Zirnsak, Synods of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church of Australia.

We have worked for almost ten years to curb illegal logging, increasing the share of wood coming from responsibly managed forests. Efficiently enforced legislation against illegal logging will help us get a step closer to our objectives," said Anders Hildeman, Global Forestry Manager at IKEA.

It is in the interest of Australian businesses that effective measures to stop illegal forest products are brought in and we urge the federal government to include all elements of the 'Common Platform'," said Ross Hearne, General Manager of Corporate Services for Kimberly-Clark.

Watch the story on ABCs Lateline

Leading timber industry and environment groups first joined forces in a Joint Statement in 2009:

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