In May 2017, ICAR and the Corporate Responsibility Coalition (CORE) made a submission to the Australian Parliament Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade's inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia. This submission was recently accepted and is now publicly available.
In the submission, ICAR and CORE urge Australia to enact a modern slavery act, and strongly recommend that, in doing so, the Australian government should draw on provisions from the U.K. Modern Slavery Act (U.K. MSA) that have proven effective by:
- Requiring companies to publish annual modern slavery statements;
- Ensuring that the reporting requirement covers a company’s full operations including supply chains;
- Requiring high-level approval of modern slavery statements and publication on companies’ homepages; and
- Producing government guidance.
The submission further urges the Australian government to be a leader in addressing modern slavery by drawing on the successes and integrating lessons learned from international best practice to prevent modern slavery by:
- Requiring companies to conduct due diligence;
- Requiring reporting on specific topics;
- Requiring due diligence and reporting to be eligible for public contracts;
- Expanding coverage to include public bodies;
- Creating a government operated central registry of statements;
- Publishing a list of companies required to report;
- Providing access to remedy; and
- Implementing monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.
The full submission can be downloaded here.
In addition to this submission, the International Learning Lab made a submission to the inquiry. The Learning Lab's submission focuses on recommending that an Australian Modern Slavery Act should include a 'Transparency in Supply Chains' provision that is modeled on and improves upon Section 54 of the UK Modern Slavery Act, and that such a provision should apply not only to corporations, but also to public bodies.