In an effort to stop human trafficking, a proposed new law will require big Australian businesses to report annually on the steps they are taking to combat slavery in their supply chains. The new legislation is designed to fight trafficking and forced labor.
“With figures suggesting that almost 4500 people are trapped in some form of slavery in Australia – and millions more are victims around the world – the Turnbull government will soon force big business to scrutinize their supply chains in a bid to ensure companies are not complicit. Slavery includes human trafficking, debt bondage and forced lab0r. Under the legislation, companies with an annual turnover of at least $100 million will be asked to publish “Modern Slavery Statements” and will be held to account on a publicly accessible central repository.”
Will the government follow in Britain’s footsteps? Britain not only has its own Modern Slavery Act but also has initiated an independent anti-slavery watchdog to investigate complaints and guide businesses.
The new plan will be explained on Wednesday by Justice Minister Michael Keenan, as a growing concern mounts that Australia is not doing enough to thwart modern slavery.
“Based on the government’s preliminary modelling, the $100-million-a-year reporting threshold is expected to capture about 2000 companies, costing business about $23 million a year. But this in itself is likely to prove contentious. While some humanitarian agencies have called for a lower threshold to ensure more companies are held to account, business lobby groups have warned the Coalition against setting “overly prescriptive” laws that place an undue burden on them.”
Billionaire Andrew Forrest–see image above– said the move was a “tremendous decision”. Photo: AAP