Monday, 17 September 2018
Media release

Modern Slavery Bill passes House of Representatives

Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Linda Reynolds, has welcomed the passage of the Modern Slavery Bill 2018 through the House of Representatives.

The reporting requirement established through the Bill will see more than 3000 businesses and other entities publish annual public statements.

The reporting requirements apply to all entities in the Australian market with over $100 million in annual consolidated revenue will need to be transparent about the risks to their operations and supply chains, and the actions they are taking to address these threats.

"The United Nations estimates there are 40 million victims of forced labour globally, many of whom are exploited in global supply chains, including in the agriculture, manufacturing and construction industries," said Senator Reynolds.

As a result of this legislation, Australia will also be the first nation in the world to recognise orphanage trafficking as a form of modern slavery. This means that a reporting entity with activities or supply chains which involve orphanages will need to assess and report on any risks relating to modern slavery in these operations.

"More than half of the world's victims of modern slavery are exploited in the Asia-Pacific region, a fact which often comes as a surprise to Australians. Many of the products and services Australians use may be impacted or tainted at some point in the supply chain by forced labour."

"This Bill will allow Australians to make more informed decisions about their purchases and take a stand against forced labour."

"The Bill will also have an impact internationally, as businesses operating in Australia will compete to improve workplace standards and practices through their overseas supply chains," she said.

If the Modern Slavery Bill 2018 is successful in the Senate, affected entities will make their statements available to the public via a Government-administered public register no later than six months after their annual reporting period.