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21 Nov 2022

Jarni Blakkarly, CHOICE

Australia: Consumers add voice to calls for Modern Slavery Act to be strengthened following Govt. Review

"Government urged to strengthen Modern Slavery Act", 21 November 2022

The federal government has been urged to use the "landmark opportunity" of the Modern Slavery Act review [...]. 


One report highlighting the issue was written by a coalition of human rights, church groups and academics in February this year. Paper Promises? Evaluating the Early Impact of Australia's Modern Slavery Act found that 77% of over 100 companies whose modern slavery statements were reviewed failed to meet the basic reporting guidelines. 


Report co-author Amy Sinclair, from the non-governmental organisation the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, says putting the responsibility on consumers to read modern slavery statements and drive change through their shopping decisions was a serious flaw in the design of the legislation. 

"Are we seeing it driving a race to the top in human rights practices amongst companies or not?" she says. "The Act has had a significant impact in terms of generating awareness in Australia, about modern slavery in business operations and supply chains. But we're not yet seeing it having the kind of impact that is going to drive meaningful change for workers on the ground." 


Sinclair says there are many positive developments around the world to combat modern slavery, pointing to new and proposed laws in European countries, and it's important for Australia to play its part.