09 March 2010

Majority of Australians Say Government Responsible for Stopping Illegal Logging Imports

Reposted in full from EcoVoice, March 2010

'An overwhelming majority (92%) of Australians think the government has a responsibility to ensure illegal timber is not sold in this country, according to a recent Newspoll survey commissioned by Greenpeace with the support of leading timber retailer Bunnings.

The nationally representative survey also revealed that:

* an overwhelming majority would be willing to pay more for imported timber products if they have been sourced from a legally certified provider.

* only 6% currently find it easy to determine the difference between legal and illegal timber.

These results follow last week's release of a government-commissioned report that recommended against a ban on illegal timber imports in Australia, something they promised to implement as part of their election platform in 2007.

"This poll should leave the government with no doubt as to what needs to be done,' says Greenpeace Forests Campaigner Reece Turner. "It is disturbing that voluntary measures are being considered to address this issue, given the broad support from major players within the timber industry and from leading environment groups for the promised ban."

The government needs to listen to the concerns of consumers, support industry leaders, and help protect the world's forests by ensuring that illegal timber does not enter this country. Leading retailers and importers have demonstrated foresight by investing in legal certification of the timber products they trade in.

"Bunnings is supportive of the government introducing effective measures to prevent illegal timber imports. We've worked very earnestly for the past decade in an ongoing effort to eliminate illegally logged timber from our supply chain and offer our customers sustainable solutions," Bunnings Managing Director, John Gillam said.

Australia imports $840 million worth of illegally logged timber each year and the rate of illegal logging in our region is among the highest in the world. This means Australian consumers are unwittingly buying timber products that come from illegal logging operations in neighbouring countries like Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

Illegal logging is linked to human rights abuse, irreversible biodiversity loss and devastating deforestation. Deforestation is responsible for about a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.
When people go to the store to buy timber, they should have the confidence that any products they purchase have not come from illegal logging.

Tell the government to stay strong on illegal logging imports, listen to Australians and support the timber industry. Write a letter and Say No to Bad Wood.'

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