Modern Slavery Update
Federal legislation introduced in the House of Representatives
In the last sitting day before Winter Break, the Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, Alex Hawke, introduced the Federal Government’s eagerly awaited Modern Slavery Bill 2018 into the House of Representatives.
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.
Australian companies and foreign entities carrying on business in Australia with revenue over $100 million AUD will be required to report under the new Bill. Notably, the Australian Government will be the first in the world to subject itself to the same reporting requirements as their private-sector counterparts. Labelling the move as “leading by example”, the Australian Government, Corporate Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies will be required to publish an annual statement covering possible modern slavery risks.
Modern slavery reports will be kept by the Minister for Home Affairs in a public repository known as the Modern Slavery Statements Registry. In the 2018-19 Federal Budget, the Government committed 3.6 million to establish a Modern Slavery Business Engagement Unit within the Department of Home Affairs, which will provide advice and support for businesses throughout the reporting process.
The Australian Government has committed to providing formalised guidance on key terms relevant to the Bill – including “risk”, “operations”, “supply chains”, “due diligence” and “remediation processes”. The definitions are expected to align with the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.