AQIS TIMBER ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
UNDER AN OFFSHORE ACCREDITATION
Border Programs Branch
9 August 2000
AUSTRALIAN QUARANTINE AND INSPECTION SERVICE ACCREDITATION
ARRANGEMENTS – NORTH AMERICAN TIMBER IMPORTS
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) is an agency within the Commonwealth
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry – Australia responsible for addressing quarantine
risks posed to Australia’s human, animal and plant health status.
Increasing detections of exotic pests in imported timber has resulted in the AQIS decision to conduct an
Import Risk Analysis (IRA) on the importation into Australia of Douglas-fir, Western Red Cedar,
Western Hemlock and Yellow-Cedar lumber and logs. The IRA process will assess the quarantine risk
currently posed by exotic timber pests and diseases associated with North American timber imports as
well as estimate the potential for arthropod pests and diseases present in the Pacific Northwest region
becoming established in Australia through entry on coniferous lumber. As part of the IRA process,
detailed evaluations are conducted on the economic, environmental and social consequences of such an
establishment with a view to directing appropriate management strategies to mitigate the identified
The IRA process was discussed in detail at the AQIS Timber Stakeholder conference held in April
1999. During the conference it was recognised that, subject to the outcomes of the IRA, offshore
quality arrangements could provide a mechanism to mitigate quarantine risk associated with timber
imports. In addition, promotion of appropriate management strategies for addressing quarantine risk
offshore reflects the recommendations of the 1996 Review of Australian Quarantine.
In August 1999 a joint AQIS/Australian Industry delegation met with representatives of the US and
Canadian Governments and timber industries to discuss the adoption of appropriate operational and
entry management frameworks for an accreditation initiative. As a result of these discussions, AQIS, in
consultation with industry, developed an entry management system for timber produced in accordance
with recognised quality systems which are accredited by government or industry authorities in the
exporting countries. This system was formally implemented in December 1999.
2. Scope for Timber Accreditation Initiatives
AQIS accreditation arrangements outlined in this document relate to bulk, green sawn timber imports
produced in accordance with quality systems that are recognised by an appropriate governing body in
the country of export. Treated consignments are excluded from current accreditation arrangements.
Heat-treated bulk timber imports that meet AQIS time/temperature/moisture content requirements may
be subject to concessional release from quarantine under AQIS’s usual clearance measures.
3. Entry Management Requirements for Accredited Timber
The following details AQIS requirements under an accreditation initiative for bulk timber imports.
The AQIS accreditation arrangement provides for initial inspection on 100% of consignments produced
by accredited mills upon arrival into Australia to establish a demonstrated record of performance under
the scheme. When an accredited mill achieves a clear inspection record on five consecutive shipments,
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the AQIS inspection rate would be reduced to 50%. Progressive reductions to inspection rates through
20%, 10% and 5% would be dependent on an accredited mill achieving a clear inspection record on
five consecutive shipments at each of the inspection levels.
However, in instances when a clear inspection record was not achieved on a shipment of accredited
timber, subsequent inspections of timber produced by the relevant mill would be conducted at the next
highest inspection rate.
For the purposes of the entry management criteria, AQIS would apply the following definitions:
1. A clear inspection record is achieved in instances when no evidence of live timber pests, bark
or other material of quarantine concern, is detected in, or upon, the accredited timber, and no
live timber pests or other material of quarantine concern is detected on the surface of the
accredited timber packs.
2. Evidence of live timber pests includes the presence of frass and relates to all identified timber
pests, regardless of whether they are classified as exotic to Australia, present or unknown.
3. In these instances, material of quarantine concern refers to any material recognised by AQIS
as posing a risk to Australia’s quarantine status through its introduction including, but not
limited to, soil, weeds and other plants, and timber displaying evidence of disease.
4. A shipment is classified as the total quantum of accredited timber marks discharged during a
single voyage within Australia. By way of example, a shipment of accredited timber in which
the various accredited marks are discharged at Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne ports will be
classified as achieving a clear inspection record only in instances when a clear inspection record
is achieved in each of the discharge ports.
The performance criteria above reflect AQIS’s responsibilities under the Quarantine Act 1908 in
addressing risks posed by timber imports presented to AQIS at the quarantine border. Under these
responsibilities, AQIS is obliged to satisfy itself that the quarantine risk posed by accredited stock has
been reduced to an acceptably low level prior to the introduction of reduced inspection regimes for the
goods. Accordingly, evidence is required (at the point of inspection) that the processes involved in
producing and transporting accredited stock to Australia ensure the reduction of quarantine risk. These
considerations form the basis of AQIS’s position on including evidence of present and unknown live
timber pests and other quarantine material in the entry management criteria above.
4. Reporting on Accredited Timber Imports
To facilitate enhanced performance under the accreditation scheme, AQIS has agreed to provide regular
performance data to those agencies responsible for overseeing an accreditation initiative in the source
countries of the timber exports. This would detail inspection results provided by AQIS operations staff
as well as scientific analysis on pests and diseases detected in accredited shipments. Feedback supplied
through AQIS reporting measures would be provided for use by timber authorities in the relevant
exporting countries to direct remedial efforts at those elements in the production and/or transport chain
requiring action to mitigate quarantine risk in accredited products.
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