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MEDIA RELEASE: Modern Slavery Act Review an opportunity to strengthen modern slavery regime

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Australia’s leading anti-slavery organisation, International Justice Mission (IJM) Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s review of the nation’s modern slavery regime.

The review of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) follows an investigation from IJM Australia which found that more than 90 per cent of Australian businesses have identified potential modern slavery risks in their supply chains.

The IJM Australia investigation, which is included in the review’s Issues Paper, analysed a sample of 404 company modern slavery statements submitted to the Australian Government’s Online Register for Modern Slavery Statements for FY21.

IJM Australia CEO, Steve Baird said the review of the Commonwealth modern slavery regime presented an important opportunity to strengthen Australia’s response to modern slavery at home and in the region.

“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,” Mr Baird said.

“We welcome the Federal Government’s review of the Modern Slavery Act and look forward to working with government and business on stronger responses to this scourge, which we know are desperately needed.

“According to our research, nearly 75 per cent of Australian modern slavery statements either did not satisfy basic reporting obligations or only met the basic reporting obligations.

“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.

“There is a clear gap in corporate Australia’s understanding of both the problem of modern slavery, and how to fix it.

“To see such a high level of non-compliance is quite confronting and highlights why the regime needs to be strengthened,” Mr Baird said.

“IJM Australia stands ready to work with business and government on tackling modern slavery and de-risking the supply chain for Australian corporations.

“This is not only the right thing to do, but ultimately good for Australian businesses.”

MEDIA: Nick Trainor 0407 078 138

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