Date posted: 13/09/2019

Submission on Draft Modern Slavery Regulations 2019

CA ANZ provided feedback to NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) on the Draft Regulations

The Modern Slavery Act 2018 (‘The Act’) in NSW requires businesses that supply goods or services for profit or gain with an annual turnover of between $50 million and up to $100 million with employees in NSW to prepare and submit an annual modern slavery statement.

The essence and the intent of the Act is ‘to take action to combat all forms of modern slavery in the state’. The Act’s reporting requirement in section 24 ‘aims to enhance transparency in business supply chains and support the business community to better respond to modern slavery’

The Draft Modern Slavery Regulations 2019 (‘the regulations’) outlines how businesses are to comply with section 24 of the Act. 

Below is Appendix 2 from the regulations which outlines and compares the NSW Act and Commonwealth Act and includes the proposed exemptions.

NSW Act Commonwealth Act
Modern slavery statements Yes Yes
Option to prepare a joint statement

Yes - set out in the regulations
This may be suitable where, e.g:

  • the organisations are part of the same corporate group or
  • the organisations have a legal relationship (e.g. joint ventures).
Yes - Set out in the Act
Mandatory criteria for statements Yes - set out in the regulations, and mirror the Commonwealth Act
Yes - Set out in the Act
Who reports

Commercial organisations:

  • with employees in NSW
  • that supply goods and services for profit or gain and
  • have an annual turnover of at least $50m and less than $100m

Regulations exempt small businesses with less than 20 employees, and charities and not-for-profit organisations with commercial arms

Reporting entities:

  • that are Australian entities or foreign entities carrying on business in Australia and
  • with an annual consolidated revenue of at least $100m

Covers commercial and not-for-profit entities

Reporting period

Commercial organisation's financial year

(e.g.1 Jul - 30 Jun, or 1 Jan - 31 Dec)

Reporting entity's financial year
Report due date Within 6 months after the end of each financial year of the commercial organisation
Within 6 months after the end of each financial year of the reporting entity
Publication Public register Public register
Penalties

Criminal penalties for:

  • failure to prepare a statement
  • failure to publish a statement and
  • providing false or misleading information

No penalties

Act empowers Minister to 'name and shame' non-compliant entities

Support for business Anti-Slavery Commissioner to oversee NSW response to modern slavery, including supporting business Business Engagement Unit to advise and support business
Act's commencement To be determined 1 January 2019

Our submission was prepared and lodged on 13 September 2019.

Key points of our submission:

  • In our opinion, a single, national modern slavery reporting regime under the Commonwealth Act is sufficient in Australia. We recommend that the proposed reporting requirements under the Draft Regulation are put on hold. 
  • We strongly support the important role of the independent NSW Anti-Slavery Commissioner and consider that their role provides a leading example to other states in Australia. 
  • Dependant on the outcome of the Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues Inquiry into the Modern Slavery Act 2018 and associated matters, we recommend any planned guidance material supporting the regulations be clear and provide practical examples, in particular outlining the reporting thresholds and interaction with the Commonwealth Act.