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Monday, 19 November 2012
Page: 9040


Senator LUDWIG (QueenslandMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Minister Assisting on Queensland Floods Recovery) (17:30): The definition is a clear definition within the bill. In relation to timber, it means harvested in contravention of the laws in force in the place, whether or not in Australia, where the timber was harvested. This has been through two Senate committee inquiries that considered the bill and noted—and this is the challenge for us all—that:

… a prescriptive definition of illegally logged may have unintended consequences, or may result in some elements of applicable legislation being overlooked or excluded through omission.

So you can end up being far too prescriptive, which means that you find gaps, omissions and holes and you then have to backfill those and you end up with a very long, convoluted definition.

My view—and I think the Senate committee reports hold the same view—is that a clear, simple definition covers all of the issues that we have referred to. Over the next two years we will develop the regulations. Parts of the drafts are already out for discussion with the various stakeholders to ensure that the circumstances in which you describe do not occur. No-one wants to see illegally logged timber from any country get into this country. It is imperative that we have a system in place—the due diligence process—that ensures that.