The illegal harvesting and theft of sandalwood has caused significant disruption to the markets and reputation of the Western Australian sandalwood industry. At the same time this activity impacts on the sustainability of the resources and the industry.
The harvesting of sandalwood is managed under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. It has replaced the Sandalwood Act 1929 and the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, and it significantly improves the State Government's ability to protect native species and important biodiversity assets.
The Act increases the penalties for the illegal harvesting of sandalwood and under the new legislation, the maximum penalties for illegally harvesting wild sandalwood are now $200,000 for individuals and $1 million for corporations.
The Forest Products Commission is also working with the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, who have regulatory responsibility under the , to implement a Chain of Custody system which will assist to demonstrate legality and compliance with relevant legislation.