An independent review into the impact of the Illegal Logging Prohibition Amendment Regulation 2013 on small business was announced today by the Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Josh Frydenberg MP.
“Small Businesses are often time and resource poor. They may not have compliance departments to deal with the heavy regulatory burdens placed on them. They are too busy focussing on building their businesses and growing our economy,” Minister Billson explained.
“We are committed to reversing the deterioration in the small business environment experienced under six years of Labor and six Labor Small Business Ministers. Removing red-tape and reducing compliance burdens are both important elements of this effort”.
“The review will focus on businesses with an income of up to $10 million, which will ensure the review examines the impact logging industry regulations on micro and small businesses”.
Senator Colbeck said the independent review will ensure compliance costs of the new regulations do not unduly impact small businesses.
“We’ve been working hard on the implementation phase to ensure these regulations have the least possible burden on Australian businesses,” he said.
“The regulations are designed to protect responsible producers and markets – it’s important that we get this right.”
The Government will also develop an associated Regulatory Impact Statement.
Mr Frydenberg said the Government is committed to an ambitious deregulation agenda that aims to reduce regulatory burden on businesses, community organisations and individuals by at least $1 billion a year.
“A balance must be struck between reducing the risk that timber and timber products for sale in Australia have been illegally logged and the cost to small business,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“A major focus of the assessment will be looking at whether the current due diligence arrangements strike that balance in the most efficient and effective way for small business.”
“The review will report to government by March and will include targeted consultations with small business representatives throughout the process.”
The new regulations commenced 30 November 2014 and require Australian timber importers to carry out due diligence on imported timber products.
The Department of Agriculture’s website contains a range of information to help businesses understand and comply with the illegal logging regulations. For the first 18 months the government’s focus will be on raising awareness and promoting compliance.
The Australian Government is committed to combating the trade in illegally logged timber, a practice that undermines legitimate operators in Australia and overseas.
It is a significant issue and Interpol and the United Nations Environment Program estimate the global trade in illegally logged timber could be as much as USD$100 billion annually.
The Terms of Reference for the implementation analysis is available at www.agriculture.gov.au/illegallogging