Thinking | 10 August 2020

Online register for modern slavery statements goes live

By Alison Baker, Anthony Hallal and Aerin Hines

The Australian Government has now launched its online register of modern slavery statements.

Entities that must (or want to voluntarily) report under the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (Modern Slavery Act) can now submit their modern slavery statements to the online register for review and publication by the Australian Border Force.

The online register, launched on 30 July 2020, will be a central, publicly accessible website for all modern slavery statements. As modern slavery statements are uploaded, the register will become a valuable resource through which best practice can be shared across sectors.

A refresher on Australia’s Modern Slavery Act

The Modern Slavery Act defines modern slavery to include eight types of serious exploitation. These are trafficking in persons, slavery, servitude, forced marriage, forced labour, debt bondage, deceptive recruiting for labour or services, and the worst forms of child labour (eg where children are engaged in hazardous work).

The Modern Slavery Act creates a reporting requirement for Australian businesses that have an annual consolidated revenue of at least A$100 million. The reporting requirement also applies to some Commonwealth entities and to foreign entities carrying on business in Australia. Other entities may choose to report voluntarily.

In practice, the reporting requirement means that entities must annually prepare a modern slavery statement and submit it to the Australian Border Force.

These statements must identify the risks of modern slavery in the reporting entity’s operations and supply chains, and they must describe the measures taken to assess, address and remediate those risks. The effectiveness of those measures must also be addressed in a modern slavery statement.

For information on the impact of COVID-19 on modern slavery reporting, see our previous article ‘COVID-19 changes: deadline extended for modern slavery statements’.

How Hall & Wilcox can help

We would be pleased to help you understand, and comply with, your obligations under the Modern Slavery Act. In particular, Hall & Wilcox can work with you to:

  • provide training on the operation of the Modern Slavery Act to your management, legal compliance, procurement and governance teams;
  • review and amend your procurement and supplier contracts;
  • develop due diligence and governance guidelines;
  • identify whether you are required to submit a modern slavery statement;
  • draft and review your annual modern slavery statement.

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