We recently hosted a discussion group with Daisy Gardener, Director of Human Rights at Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR).
“Is Modern Slavery Legislation Delivering Results in Australia”
Below are some of the key takeaways that were discussed.
- The Modern Slavery Act requires large companies or business with consolidated revenue of $100m or more to report on modern slavery risks from 1 January 2019
- While this reporting has helped, reporting alone won’t eradicate worker exploitation
- There are currently no civil penalties for non-compliance or poor performance
- What can companies do? Ensure your suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors in your supply chain comply with minimum standards
- The industries of Construction, textiles, and cleaning are considered to be high risk areas by the Australian Government
- Compliance will only be achieved through adoption of worker driven social responsibility initiatives. Whistle-blower hotlines and audits aren’t enough. Educate workers and adopt worker led grievance processes.
- What does best practice reporting look like? Address with a level of detail the specific actions your company is taking to both remove risks and remediate any issues found.
- Share knowledge with other organisations and learn from each other
- Use NGO’s in other countries to help with on the ground knowledge where you have supply chains in those countries
- What if you find non-compliance in your organisation? That’s good as it means your processes are working.
- We must continue to have modern slavery at the top of the board agenda, not just for large ASX listed companies but for all companies.
- Refer to the Cleaning Accountability Framework (CAF) for a cross functional approach to help eliminate worker exploitation
- Modern Slavery Act reporting will be reviewed in 2022. What might it look like?
- Penalties for non-compliance
- Reduced company revenue threshold for reporting
- Appointment of independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner
- Access to a national compensation scheme for victims of modern slavery
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