Australian Forestry Standard Ltd has welcomed the federal government’s assurance that forest certification continues to guarantee the legality of national domestic wood supply.

Trees in the woods of Australia

Federal Minister responsible for forestry Senator Anne Ruston has announced that amendments to illegal logging legislation will streamline and simplify the importation and processing of timber products certified under Australian forest certification schemes.

More than 24 million hectares of managed native forests and plantations are certified under the Australian Forest Certification Scheme which is endorsed by PEFC, the global authority on sustainable forest management.

“The government is to be congratulated on its continued tough stance on illegal logging and recognition that major forestry operations in Australia are 100% independently certified,” AFS CEO Simon Dorries said.

“Government and public building authorities are placing greater emphasis on Australian standards in their regulations to ensure the sustainability, environmental security and legality of products used in the housing and construction industries,” he said.

“Chain of custody is especially suited to projects such as new-build commercial and office buildings, private and social housing projects, renovation and refurbishment schemes, and civil engineering projects.”

Mr Dorries said the simple act of sourcing or purchasing an Australian-branded product could have far-reaching positive implications, not least in terms of sustainable consumption, arguing that improving the productivity and profitability of forests and trees was central to achieving sustainability across landscapes and livelihoods.

AFPA CEO Ross Hampton said illegal logging regulations should be effective but not impose unnecessary red tape and compliance costs on Australian producers who were doing the right thing and already operated within a stringent legal and compliance framework for sustainable forest management.