On January 1, 2019 Australia took significant steps to directly target modern slavery with the commencement of the Modern Slavery Act 2018.

This Act creates the requirement for transparent reporting by entities with an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million who are based, or operating, in Australia. Entities can also voluntarily comply and report to the Minister of Home Affairs if they do not have a consolidated revenue of more than $100 million.

The Act also imposes an obligation on the Commonwealth to report on behalf of non-corporate and corporate Commonwealth entities.

Mandatory criteria specified in section 16 of the Act outlines that the report must describe:

  • the entities’ structure, operations and supply chains;
  • the associated risks of modern slavery within these operations and supply chains;
  • the actions the entity has taken to address those risks;
  • how the effectiveness of such actions has been assessed; and
  • the process of any consultation that has been undertaken with any other entities that the reporting entity owns or controls.

All reports will be kept by the Minister and published on the Modern Slavery Statements Register. The Register will be made freely available online. It is proposed that this register will provide increased transparency and create a more level playing field for large businesses to disclose their modern slavery risks and steps to mitigate them.

Macpherson Kelley provides relevant strategic advice relating to the application of the Modern Slavery Act should your business meet the threshold requirements or wish to voluntarily report. Our Employment, Safety and Migration team are also able to assist in providing employment related advice in this area.

Equally, if your company is part of a multinational group, similar requirements may be imposed on it by the jurisdictions of your parent entity.