The Australian Government is currently undertaking a statutory review of the operation and effectiveness of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 in the first three years since commencement.

The Modern Slavery Act came into force on 1 January 2019. The Act established a national Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement for large businesses and other entities in the Australian market with annual consolidated revenue of at least $100 million.

The Act was introduced to address the risk of modern slavery practices in the operations and supply chains of Australian organisations by increasing awareness of modern slavery risks, and support entities to identify, report and address the risks.

The key issues in the review of the Modern Slavery Act include:

  • Has the Modern Slavery Act had a positive impact?
  • Are the Modern Slavery Act reporting requirements appropriate?
  • Are additional measures required under the Modern Slavery Act adequate?
  • Are public sector reporting requirements under the Modern Slavery Act adequate?
  • Does the online Modern Slavery Statements Register adequately support scheme objectives?
  • The administration of the Modern Slavery Act, and the role of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner
  • Future review of the Modern Slavery Act.

Company boards, directors, and executive management should continue to understand the Modern Slavery Act compliance and reporting obligations and how their business is exposed to modern slavery risks.

Modern slavery can occur in every industry and sector and describes situations where offenders use coercion, threats or deception to exploit victims and undermine their freedom. It is estimated there are over 40 million people in modern slavery conditions worldwide.

The Modern Slavery Statement is designed to outline the risks of modern slavery in business operations and supply chains, and actions taken to address those risks. The Act applies to a wide range of entities, including companies, superannuation funds, not-for-profit entities and trusts.

The Modern Slavery Statements are publicly available on the Modern Slavery Statements Register. The register indicates that over 5000 mandatory and nearly 700 voluntary statements have been lodged. Entities are required to submit modern slavery statements within six months after the end of their reporting periods.