In November 2018, a Queensland-based importer was served with the first infringement notice issued under Australia’s illegal logging laws. The notice was issued for ongoing non-compliance with the laws’ due diligence requirements and resulted in the business being penalised $12,600. This was no doubt designed to raise awareness about the need for a compliant Due Diligence system. There is also no doubt that this will continue with further infringement notices and prosecutions.
The issuance of the infringement notice reflects the Department’s implementation of a full compliance model for the illegal logging laws, with the “soft start compliance period” ending in January 2018. So far the Department have audited over 600 businesses and provided advice on whether their due dilligence systems meet the law’s requirements. Ongoing compliance audits are scheduled for 2019, and importers who are affected by these regulations should look to get their house in order.