New Commonwealth Modern Slavery Reporting Regime

New Commonwealth Modern Slavery Reporting Regime

This training brochure applies to all organisations based in or operating in Australia which have an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million Australian dollars.

Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth)

Please be advised that the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (the Act) came into force in full on 1 January 2019.

Background

Modern slavery practices include trafficking in persons, slavery (including forced labour) and child labour (including using children in hazardous work). Modern slavery can occur in any industry and at any point in a supply chain. Internationally, high risk industries include construction, electronics, extractives, fashion and hospitality. It is thought that there is a high risk of Australian businesses being exposed to modern slavery practices and that Australian goods and services may be tainted by modern slavery. The risk to Australian businesses is especially heightened for large companies and entities with complex and extensive global supply chains.

The Act directly targets modern slavery risks in business operations and supply chains in Australia, by supporting relevant organisations to identify and address modern slavery risk, and to develop and maintain responsible and transparent supply chains. A new modern slavery reporting requirement requiring reporting entities to provide annual Modern Slavery Statements regarding the steps they are taking to address modern slavery practices in their own supply chains and operations has been established by the Act.

New modern slavery reporting requirement

The Act requires reporting entities (being entities based in or operating in Australia which have an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million Australian dollars) to provide an annual Modern Slavery Statement for every 12 month period that they have an annual revenue of more than $100 million Australian dollars.

Section 16(1) of the Act prescribes that the reporting entity’s Modern Slavery Statement must provide the following:

  • identify the reporting entity; and
  • describe the structure, operations and supply chains of the reporting entity; and
  • describe the risks of modern slavery practices in the operations and supply chains of the reporting entity, and any entities that the reporting entity owns or controls; and
  • describe the actions taken by the reporting entity and any entity that the reporting entity owns or controls, to assess and address those risks, including due diligence and remediation processes; and
  • describe how the reporting entity assesses the effectiveness of such actions; and
  • describe the process of consultation between each reporting entity and any subsidiary entities of each reporting entity; and
  • any other information the entity preparing the statement, or any of the reporting entities consider relevant.

Reporting entities are required to provide the Minister with their Modern Slavery Statement within 6 months after the end of the reporting period (being the financial year, or another accounting period applicable to the entity, under section 319 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth)).

Modern Slavery Statements will be kept by the Minister in the Modern Slavery Statements Register which is accessible by the public free of charge on the internet.

Subscribers should note that under section 16A of the Act, the Minister is able to request a reporting entity to provide an explanation within 28 days in the instance where the Minister is satisfied that a reporting entity has failed to provide a Modern Slavery Statement.  Additionally, the Minister has the power to request a reporting entity to undertake remedial action for the failure.

Significantly, if a reporting entity fails to comply with the requests of the Minister under section 16A of the Act, the Minister may publish on the Modern Slavery Statements Register the identity of the entity and any of its subsidiaries, details of the request made by the Minister, and the reasons why the Minister believes that the entity has failed to comply with the request.

Voluntary reporting

Although it is mandatory for reporting entities to provide a Modern Slavery Statement, other entities based or operating in Australia may report voluntarily.

Conclusion

Organisations with an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million Australian dollars should ensure that a Modern Slavery Statement is provided to the Minister within the prescribed time frame as highlighted above and as detailed in the newly created NATIONAL – Prohibition Against Modern Slavery module.

Conclusion

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au

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