Illegal logging of the world’s forests is going on at a rate of 30 football fields a second. It enriches criminal gangs and corporations. People speaking out against it have been gunned down. Its profits and power rivals the illegal drug trade.
Of the 15 top timber-producing nations, two-thirds lose over half of their timber to illegal loggers, with some losing up to 90%.
Most of it ends up in developed countries like Australia (which also takes part in a scaled down version of similar practices itself)
So what are we doing about it? In Australia, the federal government has talked about this for years but last year drafted legislation called the Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2011. If properly enforced it could make it more difficult for wood products flooding in from places like Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and China.
But – the Lib-Nat Coalition, that originally supported the bill because it would help Australia’s logging industry sell its wares without cheap imports, is now getting cold feet. Instead of passing it, the Coalition wants another Joint Parliamentary Committee to look at it, even though this exact policy has already been past two Parliamentary Inquiries in the past year. It’s purely a stalling tactic until it can be weakened or done away with.
Besides the Coalition that has a penchant for environmental viciousness, former Australian trade ambassador Alan Oxley has also worked hard against the bill. How so? He’s now a well-paid lobbyist funded by some of the world’s biggest timber and palm oil corporations from in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Say no more. This shows what we would face if Abbott ever gets in – the support of global plundering, bribing and even killing of people in order to keep criminal empires pumped up with illegal money. There’s much more to politics than we can see.