A Shorten Labor Government will introduce an Australian Modern Slavery Act to ensure Australia is at the forefront of the fight against modern slavery.
There are an estimated 48.5 million people in slavery worldwide, many of whom are victims of exploitation in private sector activities, such as manufacturing, construction and agriculture.
Australia has an important role to play in fighting modern slavery. Two-thirds of people trapped in slavery worldwide are reported to be in the Asia-Pacific region, and it is estimated that an unbelievable 4,300 people are currently trapped in slavery right here in Australia.
Labor calls on the Turnbull Government to work in a bipartisan fashion to enact this legislation immediately.
If they don’t, a Shorten Labor Government will get this done.
AN AUSTRALIAN MODERN SLAVERY ACT
Labor will introduce an Australian Modern Slavery Act, which will include:
• supply chain reporting requirements for major Australian companies; and
• the establishment of an Australian Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
Transparency in supply chains
Labor will enforce supply chain reporting requirements for all major businesses, to ensure no Australian company is either directly, or indirectly, engaged in modern slavery.
Major Australian companies will be required to comply.
These companies will be required to report annually to the Government on the steps they have taken to ensure that modern slavery is not occurring in their business or supply chain through a slavery and human trafficking statement.
Each statement must include specific information including information about the company’s supply chain, where risk has been identified in that supply chain, what steps are being taken to ensure slavery is not part of the supply chain, training provided to staff on these matters and whether slavery has been found in the supply chain and what action has been taken.
The list of the companies in Australia who are required to report under any Australian Modern Slavery Act will be publicly available.
A central repository of statements will be established by the Government and there will be penalties for non-compliance with the Act.
Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner
Labor will also establish an Office of an Australian Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
The clandestine nature of modern slavery makes it very difficult for authorities to detect, investigate and prosecute incidents when they occur. Victims of modern slavery are often incredibly vulnerable and face cultural, social, economic and language barriers. There are also significant gaps in the support services we provide for victims of modern slavery.
An Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner will help remedy these gaps in enforcement and support by monitoring and scrutinising the Government’s work to tackle modern slavery.
The Commissioner will work with victims of slavery to receive inquiries and complaints.
The Commissioner will assist business in building best practices in protecting their supply chains.
The Commissioner will work with civil society to help prevent and detect slavery in Australia.
The Commissioner will lead our global efforts to fight slavery, including working with other countries and international organisations.
Modern Slavery Acts and similar legislation are currently in place in the UK, France, California and the EU. By enacting a Modern Slavery Act in Australia, Labor will ensure that we are doing all we can to fight this horrific practice.
Financial Implications ($m)