Does it affect you?
If you are an Australian entity with annual consolidated revenue of at least AUD$100 million, then you are impacted by the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth).
A Reporting Entity (defined as an entity which has consolidated revenue of at least $100m), will be required to have a Modern Slavery Statement.
What is Modern Slavery?
Modern Slavery describes situations where offenders use coercion, threats or deception to exploit victims and undermine their freedom. Practices that constitute modern slavery can include:
- Trafficking in persons
- Forced marriage
- Forced labour
- Debt bondage
- Deceptive recruiting for labour services; and
- The worst forms of child labour including where children are subjected to slavery or similar practices, or engaged in hazardous work
The legislation commenced on 1 January 2019 and applies to reporting periods commencing after that date.
The Act established a national Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement (Reporting Requirement).
This Reporting Requirement applies to large businesses and other entities in the Australian market with annual consolidated revenue of at least AUD$100 million.
The Reporting Requirement supports the Australian business community to identify and address their modern slavery risks, and maintain responsible and transparent supply chains.
Entities required to comply with the Reporting Requirement, must prepare annual Modern Slavery Statements and give it to the Minister.
These statements must set out the reporting entity’s actions to assess and address modern slavery risks in their global operations and supply chains. The Australian Government publishes these statements through an online central register.
What is a Modern Slavery Statement?
A Statement which is lodged with the Australian Border Force (ABF) via an Online Register, must:
- Identify the reporting entityhttps://modernslaveryregister.gov.au/
- Describe the structure, operations and supply chain of the reporting entity
- Describe the risks of modern slavery practices in the operations and supply chain
- Describe the actions taken by the reporting entity to assess and address risk, including due diligence and remediation processes
- Describe how the reporting entity assesses the effectiveness of these actions
- Describe the process of consultation with any entities the reporting entity owns or controls; and
- Include any other information that the reporting entity considers relevant
Once submitted, the statement will be publicly accessible online.
The Business and Government Engagement Section in the Australian Border Force (ABF) is responsible for driving effective implementation of the Act. This includes providing guidance and support to reporting entities about compliance.
You can contact the ABF and register for email updates by emailing: [email protected]
The ABF has worked with businesses and civil society to develop the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act – Guidance for reporting entities to comply with the Act.
When do I need to report?
The Act requires entities to submit modern slavery statements to the ABF within six months after the end of their reporting periods.
To support reporting entities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to meet their obligations under the Act, the Australian Government has extended this legislated deadline for reporting by an additional three months for all entities whose reporting periods end on or before 30 June 2020.
Accordingly, Australian entities with a Financial year running from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, who originally had a reporting deadline of 31 December 2020 to submit their Modern Slavery Statement, will now have until 31 March 2021.
Consequences of non-compliance
While there are no financial penalties for non-compliance, the Minister may request an explanation for non-compliance and request remedial action be undertaken. If a Reporting Entity fails to comply with the Minister’s request the Minister may “name and shame” the entity on the register. Entities should therefore be prepared for the possibility of public criticism, reputational damage and shareholder activism should such non-compliance become public.
Please visit the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs for further details regarding the Modern Slavery Act and it’s key requirements.
We would also recommend contacting us as soon as possible if you believe these rules may affect your business, as the reporting deadline is fast approaching.
Disclaimer: The information above is for general information only and cannot be relied upon as legal advice. Do not act on the basis of this general information but seek specific advice from your legal adviser. The above should not be used for specific advice purposes, or for formulation decisions under any circumstances. Bentleys Legal (NSW) Pty Ltd, its directors and its employees exclude all liability relation to relying on the information and ideas contained within.