Wednesday, 09 December 2020
Media release

Government launches key initiatives to eradicate modern slavery

​The Morrison Government has today cemented its international leadership role in the fight against modern slavery by launching the National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-25 and the Government’s first Commonwealth Modern Slavery Statement 2019-20 (Commonwealth Statement).

These initiatives, unveiled by the Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Jason Wood MP, conclude a year of concerted Government action to combat modern slavery in Australia.

Modern slavery is a devastating crime and has no place in our supply chains or communities. The National Action Plan articulates the Government’s vision for a future where no one is subjected to modern slavery and the human rights of all people are valued equally.

The National Action Plan is supported by the Government’s commitment of $10.6 million to implement the National Action plan. This is the largest single financial commitment the Government has made since its response to modern slavery was first established. It includes $4.4 million for multi-year grant funding for civil society organisations, peak bodies and academic researchers to deliver projects to combat modern slavery in Australia.

The National Action Plan is the result of extensive consultation with civil society organisations, unions, peak bodies and academic researchers. Through the National Action Plan, the Government will continue to work with these partners to combat modern slavery and support and protect victims.

The National Action Plan builds on existing efforts to combat modern slavery, including the landmark Modern Slavery Act 2018 (the Act). Under the Act, the Government agreed to submit its own annual modern slavery statements, holding itself to the same standard as large businesses and entities who are required to report on their own modern slavery risks.

The Commonwealth Statement fulfils this commitment and outlines the Government’s actions to address modern slavery risks in Commonwealth procurement activities and investments. It provides a strong foundation for future action and signals the Government’s commitment to continuous improvement and driving meaningful change in global supply chains.

Today’s announcements were made at the 12th meeting of the National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery, which brings together stakeholders from 12 government agencies and 14 industry bodies and civil society organisations.

The National Roundtable is the government’s key consultative mechanism to strengthen Australia’s response to modern slavery.

The National Action Plan and Commonwealth Statement can be found on the Home Affairs’ website at https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about-us/our-portfolios/criminal-justice/people-smuggling-human-trafficking