The Australian government introduced the Modern Slavery Bill to parliament today, a move that will require some 3,000 companies to now report on how they are addressing modern slavery in their supply chains.
Under the bill, Australia’s largest businesses with an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100m will be obligated to publish annual modern slavery statements that are signed off by the board and released within six months of a company’s annual report.
Related Campaign: Urge Australia to Pass a Strong Modern Slavery Law.
While the new bill has been largely welcomed by civil society and anti-slavery groups, many are concerned that there are no punishments for companies that fail to comply.
Clare O’Neil, the shadow minister for justice, welcomed the bill but said she was “deeply disappointed” by the lack of penalties for companies that flout the law.
“We shouldn’t be leaving it to business to police themselves on slavery,” she said.
The Guardian reports:
[The bill] has been welcomed by civil society groups, anti-slavery campaigners, and lawyers who have been pushing for years for such a bill to be introduced at the federal level. However, those same groups have raised concerns, saying it won’t penalise companies for breaching the act, which was a key recommendation of last year’s Modern Slavery Inquiry.