Licensing for the harvesting of sandalwood is managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. It replaces the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and the Sandalwood Act 1929. The new legislation will enforce tougher penalties for illegal activities (including unlicensed harvesting) as well as improving trading and processing accountability.
The commercial harvesting of sandalwood on Crown land is controlled under the Forest Products Act 2000 and the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. The Forest Products Commission (FPC) is responsible for the commercial harvesting, regeneration, marketing and sale of wild Western Australian sandalwood from Crown land (including land subject to pastoral leases).
The sandalwood harvest limit is prescribed in the Sandalwood (Limitation of Removal of Sandalwood) Order 1996 (the Sandalwood Order) and is set on advice from the Minister for the Environment and approved by the Governor in Executive Council.
The Sandalwood Order took effect on 1 July 2016 and set the annual quota at 2,500 tonnes – 1,250 tonnes of green wood and 1,250 tonnes of dead wood.
The new volume will be processed to service our current international markets over the next 10 years and will support the ongoing sustainability of the industry.
The illegal harvesting and theft of sandalwood is a significant issue and is currently being addressed with the introduction of new legislation. The FPC is also working with the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, who have regulatory responsibility under the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 (Commonwealth), to implement an assurance system which will assist to demonstrate legality and compliance with relevant legislation.