Modern Slavery

Understand how Modern Slavery Reporting Requirements apply to your business and supply chains.

In Brief

  • Australia has a Commonwealth Act which requires certain businesses to report annually
  • Changes to the NSW Act commenced on 1 January 2022
  • New Zealand businesses will also be required to directly or indirectly comply with disclosure requirements

Modern Slavery still exists and affects people of any age, gender or race. Modern Slavery comes in many forms, from forced labour to debt bondage to child slavery and affects people and communities. The United Nations (UN) Global Compact Network in Australia estimates that 45.8 million are affected around the world with 66.4% of modern slaves being from the Asia-Pacific region, which includes Australia and New Zealand.

In 2015, the United Kingdom introduced the UK Modern Slavery Act (MSA) 2015 which was the first of its kind in Europe, and one of the first in the world, to specifically address slavery and trafficking in the 21st century. The UK Modern Slavery Act applies to companies turning over £36 million, capturing around 19,000 businesses.

Modern Slavery updates in Australia (Commonwealth and NSW) February 2020

Country Requirements

  • Australia

    In June 2018, the first Modern Slavery Bill was assented in NSW. Subsequently in November 2021, the Modern Slavery Amendment Act 2021 (Amendment Act) was passed and received royal assent. The Amendment Act resulted in the removal of the supply chain transparency requirements removing any duplication with the Commonwealth Act. There are a few key features of the amended NSW Act which commenced on 1 January 2022.  

    The Commonwealth Modern Slavery Bill was passed by both houses of parliament on the 29th of November 2018. As at February 2022, the modern slavery register houses statements which cover over 8,000 entities across 42 countries.  

    NSW Modern Slavery Act 2018 
    (1 January 2022)

    Commonwealth Modern Slavery Bill 2018 (Commencement date after 1 January 2019)

    Reporting applicability

    NSW state-owned operations (not required to report under Commonwealth) to voluntarily report (section 6 of Commonwealth Act)
      - Australia’s largest businesses (corporate and non-corporate Commonwealth entities)
      - Threshold – annual consolidated revenue of at least $100 million
      - Expected to cover about 3,000 companies

    Exemptions

     

    None

    Form of publication

    .

    Annual modern slavery statement -

    The Bill establishes a register of statements, maintained by the Minister which is publicly available online.

    Expected start date

    Within six months of the end of the reporting period –a final year starting after the commencement of this section of the Act.

    Expected reporting requirements

    At minimum:

      - Identity, structure, operations and supply chains of reporting entity
      - Describe risks of modern slavery practices in operations and supply chains
      - Actions taken to address modern slavery risks (including due diligence and remediation processes); effectiveness of such actions
      - Description of consultation processes

    Non-compliance penalties

      - Publication of entity identity information and further information relating to the failure to comply which may result in reputational damage.
      - Can give rise to corporate and director liability under the Criminal Code – if inadequate preventative due diligence is indicated.

    Further monitoring/ governance controls

    Establishment of Anti-Slavery Commissioner and Modern Slavery Committee:

      - raise public awareness of modern slavery
      - Encouraging reporting of instances of modern slavery through hotline
      Monitoring reporting of risks occurring in supply chains of government agencies
      - Additional enhanced access to information
     

    The statement must be:

      - approved by the principal governing body of the entity
      - Signed by a responsible member of the entity
      - Given to minister within six months of the reporting period.
  • New Zealand

    Although New Zealand has no formal Modern Slavery requirements, EY has estimated that Australia’s Federal legislation would require up to 500 New Zealand businesses to comply with disclosure requirements, either directly or in response to requests for information from other companies that will be required to report. Employment New Zealand recently released "Practical steps to identify and mitigate labour rights issues in your supply chain" a publication which has been designed to assist businesses that are making those initial steps to identify and tackle labour rights in their supply chains.

Read our Modern Slavery statement

CA ANZ is proud to publish its modern slavery and human trafficking statements.

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Keep up to date with Modern Slavery

Read our latest articles and submissions.

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Online register for modern slavery statements

The Australian Government’s online register for Modern Slavery Statements provided by entities reporting under the Modern Slavery Act 2018

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NSW Modern Slavery Act

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Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act

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