It appears that the primary issue concerns the propriety of Australia’s (and other OECD countries including USA and UK) criteria for establishing the ‘illegality’ of import logging.
Australia’s Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation (Senator, the Hon. Eric Abetz), relies largely upon its commissioned Jaakko Pöyry Report (JPC), which ranks source countries of Australia’s timber products, first by Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (TICPI) and then by its own assessment of their governance and managment capacity (GMC).
JPC deems the total timber exports to Australia, from countries with high TICPI and medium or low GMC, as illegal or at best “suspicious”.
Under its own environmental policies, Australia has acknowledged that to achieve sustainable economic development, there is a need for a country’s international competitiveness to be maintained and enhanced in an environmentally sound manner. Unfortunately, there exists no compliance requirement to its own Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment and as a consequence there is often no accountability.