Tak­ing care of small busi­ness a pri­or­ity for log­ging re­view

Australasian Timber - - IMPORTED TIMBER -

THERE WILL be an in­de­pen­dent re­view into the im­pact of the Il­le­gal Log­ging Pro­hi­bi­tion Amend­ment Reg­u­la­tion 2013 on small busi­ness.

The re­view was an­nounced jointly 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 would en­sure com­pli­ance costs of the new reg­u­la­tions did 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 was com­mit­ted to an am­bi­tious dereg­u­la­tion agenda that aimed 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.

“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,” he said

The new reg­u­la­tions started 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.

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