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Monday, 19 November 2012
Page: 9056


Senator MILNE (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (19:44): by leave—I move amendments (2), (5), (7), (8) and (19) together:

(2) Clause 6, page 3 (lines 10 to 14), omit all the words from and including "This Act" to and including "processed.", substitute:

This Act prohibits the importation of illegally logged timber, the processing of illegally logged raw logs and the supply of regulated timber products.

This Act also requires importers of regulated timber products, processors of raw logs and suppliers of timber products to conduct due diligence in order to reduce the risk that illegally logged timber is imported, processed or supplied.

(5) Clause 7, page 6 (after line 1), after the definition of premises, insert:

processed timber product means a thing that is, is made from or includes, a raw log that has been processed.

(7) Clause 7, page 6 (after line 5), after the definition of Secretary, insert:

supply has the meaning given by section 7A.

(8) Page 6 (after line 8), after clause 7, insert:

7A Supplying timber products

   (1) A supply of a timber product includes a supply of the product by way of sale, exchange, gift, lease, loan, hire or hire purchase.

   (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), it is irrelevant whether the supply is:

      (a) for consideration; or

      (b) a wholesale or retail supply.

Note:   Offences under this Act relating to supplying timber products do not apply in relation to second hand products.

(19) Page 14 (after line 29), after Part 3, insert:

Part 3A—Supplying

Division 1—Supplying illegally logged timber

18A Supplying illegally logged timber

   (1) A person commits an offence if:

      (a) the person supplies a thing; and

      (b) the person is a constitutional corporation, or the person supplies the thing:

         (i) in the course of, or for the purposes of, trade and commerce with other countries, or among the States or between a State and a Territory; or

         (ii) in a Territory; or

         (iii) on behalf of a constitutional corporation; or

         (iv) to a constitutional corporation; or

         (v) on behalf of the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority; or

         (vi) to the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority; and

      (c) the thing is, is made from, or includes, illegally logged timber; and

      (d) the thing is not prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

Penalty:   5 years imprisonment or 500 penalty units, or both.

   (2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the timber product is a second hand product at the time of the supply.

18B Supplying illegally logged timber in regulated timber products

   (1) A person commits an offence if:

      (a) the person supplies a thing; and

      (b) the person is a constitutional corporation, or the person supplies the thing:

         (i) in the course of, or for the purposes of, trade and commerce with other countries, or among the States or between a State and a Territory; or

         (ii) in a Territory; or

         (iii) on behalf of a constitutional corporation; or

         (iv) to a constitutional corporation; or

         (v) on behalf of the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority; or

         (vi) to the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority; and

      (c) the thing is, is made from, or includes, illegally logged timber; and

      (d) the thing is a regulated timber product; and

      (e) the thing is not prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

Penalty:   5 years imprisonment or 500 penalty units, or both.

   (2) The fault element for paragraph (1)(c) is negligence.

   (3) Subsection (1) does not apply if the timber product is a second hand product at the time of the supply.

18C Forfeiture

   (1) A court may order all or any part of a thing to be forfeited to the Commonwealth if:

   (a) the court convicts a person of an offence against section 18A or 18B in respect of the thing or part; and

   (b) the thing or part is the property of the person.

   (2) The person is entitled to be heard in relation to the order.

   (3) The thing or part may be dealt with or disposed of in any manner that the Secretary thinks appropriate, but only after:

   (a) if the periods provided for lodging appeals against the order and the conviction have ended without such an appeal having been lodged—the end of those periods; or

   (b) if one or more such appeals have been lodged—the appeals lapse or are finally determined.

Division 2—Suppliers ' due diligence

18D Supplying a timber product

      A person commits an offence if:

   (a) the person supplies a thing; and

   (b) the person is a constitutional corporation, or the person supplies the thing:

   (i) in the course of, or for the purposes of, trade and commerce with other countries, or among the States or between a State and a Territory; or

   (ii) in a Territory; or

   (iii) on behalf of a constitutional corporation; or

   (iv) to a constitutional corporation; or

   (v) on behalf of the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority; or

   (vi) to the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority; and

   (c) the thing is a timber product; and

   (d) the person does not comply with the due diligence requirements for supplying the product.

Penalty: 300 penalty units.

18E Due diligence requirements for supplying timber products

      The due diligence requirements for the supply of a timber product by a person (the supplier) to another person are:

   (a) for an imported regulated timber product—the supplier must provide the other person with:

      (i) a copy of the declaration made to the Customs Minister under section 13 in relation to the product; and

      (ii) evidence of compliance with the due diligence requirements for importing regulated timber products; and

   (b) for a processed timber product—the supplier must provide the other person with evidence of compliance with the due diligence requirements for processing raw logs.

This range of amendments goes to the issue of traceability along the supply chain; they all refer to that. It is pretty clear that most of the pressure to ensure timber and wood product legality is driven from the retail end of the market. Requiring all subsequent traders to obtain and retain documentation to demonstrate legality will encourage more questions to be asked in the supply chain and will increase the speed with which supply chains respond to the new legislation and provide surety to those further down the supply chain, including consumers. So this is really about saying, 'Wherever you are in the supply chain of timber products, you need to get from your supplier an assurance so that you can then in turn assure the people to whom you are selling that the timber product is in fact not illegally sourced.'

The EU timber regulation has an obligation of traceability as a core element within its framework. Article 5 of that requires traders to keep records of all timber and wood products purchased and sold and make this available to authorities upon request so that illegal timber may be tracked within the market. This is an important enforcement tool, especially when considering the challenges of enforcing the central criminal offence of illegal timber importation.

I have to say that it has been pretty clear to me that this supply chain issue is rather crucial. That came home to me especially in relation to the example of not a timber product but tantalum from the Congo. It gets illegally shipped out of the Congo, flown into Belgium and transported to Russia, and so you lose track of where it actually came from. It ends up in mobile phones around the world. The mobile phone producers say that all the products in their phones are sustainable. Yet if you go back through the supply chain it all gets very murky once that tantalum arrives through the Belgian ports. So this issue of obligation of traceability is really important.

I recognise that the minister has resisted all calls to require mandatory labelling on the basis that it would be too onerous, despite the Labor Party election policy from 2007 clearly stating a commitment to requiring labelling at point of sale. In the absence of such a requirement for labelling, the Greens propose that there be a requirement for all traders in the supply chain to confirm the legality of the products they are trading in.

The amendments we are discussing are to insert a new part into the new bill, following part 3—Processing, titled 'Supplying'. The intent is to ensure that each subsequent purchaser or handler of imported timber or processed timber up to the point of retail sale must be provided with a copy of the declaration form, and due diligence documentation must be provided upon request. This really goes to the issue of the supply chain, to make sure that, right up and down the supply chain, people are basically second-checking what has come to them before they pass it on to the next person, so that, right up the supply chain, people are asking questions. I think that is an appropriate way to go, and that is why I think it is important that we get the same sort of commitment that has come through the EU timber regulation which has an obligation of traceability, and I do not see that in the current bill. That is why I have moved these amendments.