Australia is an important importer of timber and wood-based products. It is estimated that as much as 10% of Australia’s imported products could contain illegal timber. As a means to reduce the flow of such imports into the country, the government passed the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill in 2012, which makes it a criminal offence to import or process illegally logged timber or timber products. Due diligence requirements came into force in 2014, under which businesses need to assess and manage the risk that the timber or timber products they are importing or processing have been illegally logged (Australian Government, 2015).
Forests cover just over 15% of Australia’s total land area, 4% of which are primary forests. The forest area was declining in the first decade of this century, at an average annual rate of 0.4%. Since then, forest cover has been increasing, at a rate of 0.2% per year between 2010 and 2015 (FAO, 2015).