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Monday, 19 November 2012
Page: 9048

Senator LUDWIG (QueenslandMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Minister Assisting on Queensland Floods Recovery) (18:00): Far be it for me to quote ex-US defence secretaries. The important thing to look at, if you reflect on what you said, is that there is one extreme element that says that I have not gone far enough. That is not in this chamber. There is another extreme element that says that we should do nothing. I actually think that on the basis of that I have probably got the balance right. What we as a government have done is looked at the experience under the Lacey Act and drawn on the EU experience to make legislation that is both relevant and practical to Australia, that does not impede to such an extent that it does not operate, that means that at the border the importers can meet the diligence requirements and that the importers can meet the objects of the act to ensure that we do minimise the risk of importing illegally logged timber.

In respect of your auditing question: there will be audits. The way it will operate is that the regulator will do audits of the importers, of all of the relevant paper warfare that they do to ensure compliance with the legislation. That is how it works. That will be based on risk, using a risk matrix to determine where the risks lie and making sure that the audits target risk. Otherwise you will end up with a model that simply checks everything. If you check everything, you will be wedded to a paper warfare that does not actually combat illegally logged timber. It will just be producing ticks on sheets of paper. This matrix, a proper auditing process that targets risk, is about targeting where your high risks are and auditing those. Of course, the way audits work is that if there are issues that arise then usually there are more audits for those areas to ensure compliance. You do not simply audit it once, find a problem and move on. The risk matrix system usually encourages that you go back and continue to check those to make sure that they do comply.