Submission to the Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues inquiry into the Modern Slavery Act 2018 and associated matters

November 25, 2019

ALHR has made a submission to the NSW Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues inquiry into the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (NSW) (NSW Act).

ALHR supports the modern slavery reporting scheme introduced by the NSW Act. It is commendable that NSW seeks to be a leading jurisdiction in combatting modern slavery, both in Australia and internationally.

ALHR notes that, by having a lower reporting threshold than the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (the Cth Act), the NSW Act extends the scope of legislative modern slavery reporting to cover some 1650 additional reporting entities.

ALHR is of the view that the inclusion of penalties for non-compliance and the provision for an Anti-Slavery Commissioner in the NSW Act represents key improvements, not only in comparison to the Cth Act, but also on comparable modern slavery reporting laws worldwide. In this regard, voluntary schemes, or mandatory schemes without attached penalties, tend to be less effective, as exemplified by the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (UK) where compliance with the minimum reporting requirements is at a low twenty-three percent (23%). In this respect, the NSW Act is leading the way globally in terms of legislative action to address the scourge of modern slavery in corporate supply chains.

ALHR has previously made submissions on the NSW Act, with reference to how the NSW scheme is complementary to the Cth Act, however, the NSW Act needs to be further harmonised, as far as possible, with the reporting requirements provided for in the Cth Act.

ALHR’s key recommendation is that the forthcoming guidance material should clarify the requirements and penalties for all entities with employees in NSW with an annual turnover of more than $50 million, as well as amending the draft Modern Slavery Regulation 2019 (NSW) (the draft Regulation) as set forth in our recent submission.

Read the submission in full here