Date posted: 16/04/2019 3 min read

Modern Slavery - draft guidance released for feedback

Department of Home Affairs has released the Modern Slavery Act 2018 draft guidance for reporting entities.

In brief

  • Australian modern slavery reports will start to be seen in 2020
  • Contribute to Chartered Accountants ANZ’s submission and provide feedback by the 9th of May
  • Extensive consultation with Australian business and civil society has shaped the draft guidance

Australia saw its first Modern Slavery Act (Commonwealth Act) come into force on the 1st of January 2019 with most Australian modern slavery statements expected to be seen in 2020.

After extensive consultation with the Australian business community and civil society, the Department of Home Affairs has released its draft guidance for reporting entities.

The draft guidance has been broken down into clear and practical areas that will help businesses get started and navigate through the new reporting requirements. Key terms have been clearly explained with some areas being linked back to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The draft guidance also provides practical sets of examples to help businesses assess and address risks. The examples are accompanied by practical steps that can be taken to remedy risks such as policy and process changes as well as supplier engagement.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are a set of guidelines for States and companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses committed in business operations.

A copy of the draft guidance can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.

So what is happening with the NSW Modern Slavery Act? It is expected that further information and draft regulations will soon be released. We expect the requirements for the Modern Slavery Statement to align with those under the Commonwealth Act. The NSW Act has penalties of A$1.1 million for organisations which fail to report or for false or misleading information in their statements. We expect that organisations who voluntarily report under the Commonwealth Act will be exempted from the NSW Act, however the penalty for false or misleading information under the NSW legislation will remain.

How can you get involved?

The Department of Home Affairs is calling for feedback to help shape the final guidance to ensure that it is fit for purpose.