When timber is harvested in Australia, a big part of the process is being done in secret by the Government

Posted June 01, 2019 08:24:23The Federal Government is not only letting a small part of its timber business grow without public knowledge, it’s actually giving the company that’s in the business an unfair advantage by not requiring the information be made public.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allowed two companies to use a loophole in its national timber harvesting laws to export timber in secret without requiring the timber company to tell the public about the use of the technology.

The Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, has been caught in a web of deceit when he was questioned about the loophole by a Parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s timber industry.

In a statement the Department of agriculture says it “rejects the notion that the Government’s timber harvesting policy is somehow about ‘security’ or ‘security of supply’.”

The Government is committed to providing certainty to the timber industry, through strong export and import control policies and through the establishment of a national framework to monitor the supply of timber and ensure it meets the requirements of the national and international community.

“The loophole allows forestry companies to export the timber for a fee to other companies, which then export the finished product back to Australia.

In its statement, the Department said: “It is the duty of the Australian Government to make sure that all Australians are able to benefit from timber, which is an essential resource for our economy and to support our economy, and to safeguard our national environment.”

The statement did not mention the loophole, or provide any evidence that the government had actually implemented it.

A spokesperson for Mr Garrett said the Department “does not comment on ongoing investigations”.

The loophole was first flagged in December when it was revealed the Department was allowing companies to import raw timber from other countries.”

It’s a loophole, a loophole which we’ve got to get rid of,” a spokesperson for the department said.

The loophole allowed companies to avoid being able to tell consumers about the source of their timber, and also the methods used in processing it.

The issue was raised by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment in January after it revealed there was a loophole for a third company that was importing wood from China.

The Senate inquiry found the loophole allowed the importing company to export wood from the United States, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia.

It also found that in the past two years, the Federal Government had given out $1.4 million in tax benefits to the importing companies, and that it was possible the loophole could be exploited by those companies.

Mr Garrett said he did not know if there was any other loophole in the laws, and added the loophole had been fixed.”

That’s why we’re not using it, because we can’t get it fixed,” he said.”

We can’t do it in any other way, but we can do it for our own benefit, and we can see that the benefit is there.

“The Department has also defended its policy of allowing foreign timber companies to apply for permits to import timber from the US, as long as the timber is not exported to Australia without the required permits.

Topics:government-and-politics,environment,industry,environmental-impact,government-parliament,environment-and_environmental_policy,harbour-2150,australia,sunday-harbour,vic,aussiesFirst posted June 02, 2019 14:42:57More stories from Victoria