The Association of Corporate Counsel and Law Council of Australia are helping businesses better combat human trafficking as part of good governance practices.
The two member associations have collaborated on a new fact sheet to help businesses better understand their new commitments under the Modern Slavery Act, which came into effect in early 2019.
Under the legislation, Australian-based entities with more than $100 million in revenue are required to report the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains to the Minister for Home Affairs. By reporting such risks, LCA president Pauline Wright explained, such entities are “joining international efforts to eliminate modern slavery, particularly prevalent in our Asia-Pacific region”.
To this end, ACC and LCA have produced a fact sheet to help with reporting requirements, in light of such reporting increasingly seen as being a good governance practice.
“Slavery is not a relic of the past. It affects millions of people worldwide and it’s a multibillion-dollar industry,” Ms Wright said.
“More than half of all modern slavery victims are estimated to live in the Asia-Pacific region, where the supply chains of many large Australian businesses are concentrated. This means the risk of exposure to modern slavery is a very real and current problem for businesses.
“Many Australian companies are likely unaware that modern slavery practices happen in their supply chains or operations. Collectively, we need to do better.”
“Modern slavery in supply chains distorts global markets, undercuts responsible business, and poses significant legal and reputational risks for companies,” added ACC Australia and Asia-Pacific vice-president and managing director Tanya Khan.
“By reporting, Australian entities are shining a light on this insidious practice, which represents a false economy based on human misery. We urge all entities, even those below the revenue threshold, to review their operations and consider their risks and exposure to modern slavery.”
A modern slavery statement must be submitted within six months after the end of the reporting entity’s financial year, LCA noted in a statement, adding that the reporting period is the entity’s first full financial year that commences after 1 January 2019.
“However, reporting entities due to submit their first modern slavery statement in 2020 have been granted an additional three months on top of the normal six months, because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” LCA said.
The fact sheet can be found at LCA’s website.