The end to illegal logging??

Late last year Federal Forests Minister Joe Ludwig visited Big River Timbers in Grafton with a message that the forests industry had been waiting to hear - that the Federal Government would do 'everything it possibly could to prevent the importation of timber that had been illegally logged'. To achieve this the Federal Government would employ the mechanisms provided for in the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act, which was passed into law in at the end of November, 2012 last month.

medium_Joe Ludwig, 30 Jan 2013.jpgSenator Ludwig said that the Government had an objective of reducing the estimated $60 million worth of timber brought into Australia from illegally logged forests to zero.

The North Coasts Forests Taskforce have repeatedly said in submissions to Government that the importation of illegally logged timber, not only had grave environmental consequences but it also meant considerable lost opportunity to North Coast firms who were logging and using timber in a sustainable manner in accordance with the Australian Forest Standard and also the Chain of Custody standard. "Such standards are amongst the toughest in the world" said Taskforce Coordinator, Trevor Sargeant. "And that is the way it should be, as our forests are a truly remarkable resource".

Big River Mill owner and lifelong timber industry advocate Spiro Notaras said the legislation was welcome. "Anything that can be done to support the industry should be supported," Mr Notaras said. "It could be very difficult to police, but it will make those companies involved in illegal importing look twice".

How successfully this will be achieved is the big question. "We will watch and hope" said Trevor Sargeant