International Justice Mission (IJM) Australia has welcomed Federal Labor’s plan to strengthen Australia’s modern slavery regime.
Labor’s plan will introduce an independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner to work with Australian companies on identifying and eliminating modern slavery from supply chains.
The plan will also strengthen the Modern Slavery Act, introduce penalties for non-compliances and improve transparency of supply chains.
IJM Australia CEO, Steve Baird said the announcement was a positive step in addressing the scourge of modern slavery.
“We welcome Labor’s plan to tackle modern slavery which will support businesses to identify and respond to it in their supply chain,” Mr Baird said.
“Modern slavery is a challenging issue to stamp out, particularly in complicated supply chains, but it is incumbent upon government, businesses, civil society and NGOs to step up and get the job done.
“This is not some far away issue. Modern slavery is in our backyard and businesses selling in Australia end up profiting from it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Labor’s plan is a great step forward,
“When I was on the ground in Cambodia and Thailand with our rescue teams, I saw first-hand the devastating impact modern slavery has on a person’s life. We must do better.
“Australia has a vital role to play and there’s a significant opportunity to do more to support our partners in the Indo-Pacific region to address this scourge,” Mr Baird said.
The Labor plan follows a new report from IJM Australia which revealed more than 90 per cent of Australian businesses have identified potential modern slavery risks in their supply chains.
The report, Spot Fires in Supply Chains, analysed a sample of 404 company modern slavery statements submitted to the Australian Government’s Online Register for Modern Slavery Statements for FY21.
Shockingly, nearly 85 per cent of company statements did not indicate a single instance where a company responded to actual or alleged modern slavery in their operations or supply chains.
“It is disappointing to see such a high level of non-compliance on Australian shores,” Mr Baird said.
“This is a watershed moment for Australian businesses that are clearly exposed to significant supply chain risks.
“There is a clear gap in corporate Australia’s understanding of both the problem of modern slavery, and how to fix it.
“IJM stands ready to work with business and government on tackling modern slavery and de-risking the supply chain for Australian corporations.”
To download a copy of the report, visit: www.ijm.org.au
MEDIA: Nick Trainor 0407 078 138
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