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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 162


Senator Milne asked the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, upon notice, on 7 November 2007:

(1)   What is the estimated volume of illegally-harvested sawn timber and timber products imported to Australia from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

(2)   What is the estimated volume of illegally-harvested Papua New Guinean and Indonesian sawn timber and timber products imported to Australia from China.

(3)   What is the estimated volume of plywood manufactured from illegally-harvested timber imported to Australia.

(4)   What is the estimated loss in revenue to the Australian Government of illegally-harvested imported timber by product type.

(5)   What are the social impacts of illegal logging operations.


Senator Sherry (Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law) —The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   Not available. The Government is unable to provide an estimate of the illegal component of these imports because such estimates are speculative and unreliable.

(2)   Not available. It is not possible to estimate the illegally-harvested component of Papua New Guinean and Indonesian sawn timber and timber products imported to Australia from China. There are no mandatory chain of custody systems in place to enable the legal status of sawn timber and wood products to be identified and traced along the timber supply chain.

(3)   Not available.

(4)   Not available. It is not possible to estimate the loss of revenue to the Australian Government from illegally-harvested imported timber by product type as legally and illegally harvested imports cannot be differentiated.

(5)   Claims regarding the extent of social impacts of illegal logging operations include:

(a)   lack of payment of timber royalties;

(b)   breaches of basic human rights concerning intimidation, harassment and physical violence;

(c)   a decrease in access to forest resources; and

(d)   degradation of the forest resource upon which communities are dependent.