5 January 2022

Australia leads international forest collaboration

Australia has facilitated international forest leadership, collaborating with the USA and NZ to deliver the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade’s (EGILAT) two-year policy theme, to advance the trade and distribution of legally harvested forest products.

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said the bilateral engagement was a great example of Australia being a world-leader in international forestry policy.

“The Morrison Government has a strong commitment to combatting illegal logging through our laws that protect the Australian market from illegally logged timber while managing the burden on our timber importers and processors,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“Illegal logging is a major global problem. It has extremely harmful impacts on forest ecosystems, communities and economies.

“We do not want illegal timber coming into this country and undercutting our domestic producers when they are working hard to produce sustainable, high-quality timber products right here in Australia.

“That is one of the reasons why the decisions by the Victorian and Western Australian governments to shut down our native forest industries are so disappointing – they only serve to increase our importation of timber from countries where they do not care about the environment.

“International collaboration is absolutely crucial to combatting illegal logging.

“This experts group provided key stakeholders including importers and exporters of regulated timber products with a forum to communicate the challenges they face in dealing with timber legality, and shape solutions to overcome them.

“Australia is a leader on forest matters in the APEC region and has developed stronger relations with APEC members, particularly the United States and New Zealand, by jointly progressing this work.

“Through a series of stakeholder workshops, participants expressed their interest and encouragement for the continued engagement between EGILAT and the private sector into the future.

“The final APEC report delivered eight recommendations to help shape EGILAT’s future priorities.

“Our participation and leadership in APEC EGILAT backs our illegal logging laws and further enhances Australia’s global reputation as a source of sustainable, legally harvested timber products.”

Read the APEC report Advancing the trade and distribution of legally harvested forest products’ here: https://www.apec.org/publications/2021/12/apec-egilat-policy-theme-advancing-the-trade-and-distribution-of-legally-harvested-forest-products.