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Leading Non-Government Organisations Join The Push For Robust Modern Slavery Laws

12 November 2021

A broad coalition of leading non-government organisations have united to urge the NSW Government to implement a strong modern slavery law in NSW.

Baptist World Aid, Micah Australia, Opportunity International, Tearfund Australia, Christian Super, Christians Against Poverty, The Bible Society, The Freedom Project, Mission Australia, The Freedom Hub and NCOSS have joined with International Justice Mission (IJM) Australia in its push to strengthen watered down laws.

The leading NGOs have signed a letter to Premier Perrottet urging him to restore key measures in the watered-down legislation recently introduced in NSW Parliament.

The release of the letter comes as the NSW Parliament is due to debate the amended law in Parliament this week.

“While there are some important elements included in the Government’s legislation, it simply does not go far enough,” IJM Australia CEO, Steve Baird said.

“Without reporting requirements, we are failing people being exploited by modern slavery and letting businesses using modern slavery off the hook.

“If the NSW Government won’t include modern slavery reporting requirements in its Act, it needs to commit to playing an active role in the upcoming review of the Commonwealth scheme to ensure strengthened reporting requirements and a robust compliance regime at a national level.

“There are also a number of crucial changes that need to be made by the NSW Government to give their amended legislation some more teeth.”

The groups are calling on the Premier to:

  • Guarantee in legislation the independence of the Modern Slavery Commissioner.
  • Ensure that state owned corporations are captured by the legislation.
  • Ensure that local governments are captured by the legislation. 

The latest data from SD Strategies, which analysed 36,000 supply chains to 60 Australian businesses, found 48 per cent were potentially at ‘high risk’ for modern slavery, highlighting the importance of a strong legislative response.

Of the 1,000 goods and services analysed, 82 per cent were likely to have been produced by people in slavery at some point in the supply chain – in other words, eight in every ten products on the shelf.

“This is not some far away issue. This is in our backyard and businesses selling in Australia end up profiting from it. But it doesn’t have to be this way,” Mr Baird said.

“We are urging Premier Perrottet to reflect on this amended legislation and give it back the teeth it needs to be effective in addressing modern slavery.

“As leaders of NGOs in NSW, we are imploring the NSW Government to do its bit to tackle the scourge of modern slavery.”

MEDIA:   Nick Trainor 0407 078 138

See the open letter.

Read IJM’s specific policy asks relating to the Amendment Bill.

Learn more about the campaign.

Photo credit: Jamie Davies.

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