New Legislation to combat modern slavery
The Turnbull Government has introduced legislation to reduce the risk that Australian goods and services are tainted by modern slavery.
The Modern Slavery Bill 2018 establishes a Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement that requires over 3,000 large companies and other entities to publish annual public statements on their actions to address modern slavery in their supply chains and operations.
In a world first, the Australian Government will lead by example by publishing an annual statement covering possible modern slavery risks in Commonwealth procurement.
Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Alex Hawke said the Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement will transform the way the Australian business community responds to modern slavery.
“Large businesses will have to identify modern slavery risks in their supply chains and detail what steps they have taken, and will take, to address these risks,” Mr Hawke said.
“This Bill will enable large businesses, consumers, civil society and government to work together to eliminate modern slavery in supply chains.
“Importantly, we are asking businesses to report on both what has and what has not worked in their efforts to stamp out modern slavery.
“Over time, we believe this Bill will foster a ‘race to the top’ culture that will ensure Australia is a regional and world leader in tackling modern slavery in supply chains”.
The United Nations estimates that there are 25 million victims of forced labour exploited in global supply chains, including in the agriculture, manufacturing and construction industries.
The Modern Slavery Bill was developed in consultation with the business community and civil society and the Government will continue to work collaboratively to implement the Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement.
The Government committed $3.6 million through the 2018-19 Commonwealth Budget to establish a Modern Slavery Business Engagement Unit within the Department of Home Affairs to advise and support businesses.
Detailed guidance for businesses will be developed in consultation with stakeholders before the Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement enters into force.
A factsheet on the Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement is available at https://homeaffairs.gov.au/consultations/Documents/modern-slavery/modern-slavery-reporting-requirement.pdf