We invite faith leaders of NSW to add their signature to the open letter below.
20 October 2021
RE: Faith Leaders support of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (NSW).
Congratulations on your recent appointment as Premier of New South Wales. As leaders of our faith communities, we wish you all the best in your new role and look forward to working with you.
Your predecessor, Gladys Berejiklian, was a co-sponsor of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (NSW) (‘the Act’) as it passed through the New South Wales Parliament. We appreciate the strong moral stance the government took against the scourge of modern slavery, which we know is present within our state borders and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
As leaders of faith communities, we are extremely concerned that the Act is still awaiting proclamation, nearly 1200 days since passing the NSW Parliament. We wish to impress upon you the importance of maintaining your commitment to the people of New South Wales by urgently proclaiming and commencing the Act.
We understand that minor amendments are required to ensure the Act functions as intended. However, we are concerned that future amendments might include the removal of hard-fought key provisions that ensure the Act is effective in combatting modern slavery. We urge you to retain the following provisions in any amendments to the Act:
1. Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner
2. $50 million consolidated revenue threshold
3. Penalties for non-compliance
4. Support for victims.
The Asia-Pacific region is home to approximately two-thirds of the world’s slaves, many of them children and women. NSW has the seventh largest economy within this region. And, as NSW Government departments and businesses continue to procure goods, have links in their supply chains, and conduct their operations within the Asia-Pacific region, it is vital that we have well-functioning anti-slavery legislation in NSW.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the urgency of addressing the problem of modern slavery in our region. More than 10 million children around the globe are being exploited and suffering. We can no longer be bystanders to this gross injustice.
As leaders of our faith communities, we implore you to endorse the Act once again, and to immediately introduce appropriate amendments to the Parliament that will finally see the NSW Modern Slavery Act proclaimed and commenced.
The Most Rev Kanishka Raffel – Archbishop, Anglican Diocese of Sydney
Archbishop Kanishka Raffel – President, NSW Council of Churches
The Right Reverend Dr Michael Stead – Bishop of South Sydney, Anglican Diocese of Sydney
Reverend Stu Cameron – CEO and Superintendent, Wesley Mission
Imam Shadi Alsuleiman – President, Australian National Imams Council
Ben Peletier – Chairman, NSW Reformed Church, Northern Beaches Christian Reformed Church
Surinder Jain – Founding Director and Nat. Vice President, Hindu Council of Australia
Reverend Dr Matthew Wilcoxen – Rector, St John’s Anglican Darlinghurst
Reverend Dr Nobin Shunmugam – Pastor, Wamberal Christian Reformed Church
Richard Botta – Pastor, C3 Church Carlingford
Sue Irwin – Senior Pastor, The Grainery Church
John Gray – Senior Minister, St Paul’s Castle Hill
Paul Summers – Senior Pastor, Caringbah Baptist Church
Arnaldo Santiago Jr – Lead Pastor, Anchor Church South West
Reverend Dr Andrew Katay – Senior Pastor, Christ Church Inner West Anglican Community
Lee Murray – Lead Pastor, Establish Church
Enoch Nagabyrava – Pastor, St Mary’s Baptist Church
Lesli Berger – President, Jewish Board of Deputies
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