Australia’s first federal modern slavery laws.

Australia’s Modern Slavery Bill 2018 (Cth) passed through Parliament on 29 November 2018 with strong support from both sides of the House and the Senate. The new legislation, which will commence in 2019, requires large companies to publish an annual statement on how they assess and address the risk of modern slavery in their supply chains.

Who must publish a statement?

Australian entities and foreign entities doing business in Australia with a group annual consolidated revenue over $100 million must publish a statement. Compiling the mandatory information required will take time, with some entities needing to obtain information from thousands of suppliers and sub-suppliers. It is critical that reporting entities start now to prepare for the first reporting period.

Business below the reporting threshold, but part of a larger supply chain, should take immediate steps to assess their supply chains and be prepared to answer questionnaires and information requests from larger customers.

What must be reported?

Each statement must:

  • Identify the entity (or entities, if the statement covers a corporate group).
  • Describe the structure, operations and supply chains of the entity.
  • Describe the risks of modern slavery practices in the operations and supply chains of the entity, and any other entities it owns or controls.
  • Describe the actions taken by the entity (and any entity it owns or controls) to assess and address those risks, including due diligence and remediation processes, which may include developing relevant policies and processes and providing staff training.
  • Describe how the entity assesses the effectiveness of actions taken.
  • Where the statement is prepared to cover a group of entities, describe the consultation process.
  • Include any other relevant information.

Snapshot

Reporting entities under the Commonwealth legislation may also be subject to the New South Wales equivalent of the laws which does impose penalties of up to $1.1 million. The reporting threshold is $50 million annual turnover under the NSW legislation.

While the NSW legislation is intended to avoid ‘double reporting’ obligations, entities should obtain advice on how to report as a group and how to meet the requirements under each regime.

Get in touch with Bespoke’s Trade, Transport and Regulatory group for more information and assistance with preparing for the new laws.

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Categories:
Trade, Transport & Regulatory

Posted on: 7 December 2018