The Greens acknowledge the extensive work of the Committee in its inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia, and welcome the key recommendations in the report.
In particular, the Greens support the introduction of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia, to include provisions for an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner; provisions for broadly-applicable, mandatory supply chain reporting with penalties for non-compliance, to be collated in a central repository; and measures to support victims of modern slavery, such as a national compensation scheme and the de-linking of immigration outcomes and support from cooperation with the criminal justice system.
The Greens also welcome the recommendation of a legislated review into the Modern Slavery Act three years after commencement, to consider issues such as the revenue threshold level, reporting requirements and the operation of the central repository.
The inquiry report recommends setting the threshold for mandatory supply chain reporting at $50 million. The Greens recommend consideration of a lower threshold, for example entities with a consolidated revenue of $25 million or more, consistent with the Corporations Act. The Greens also recommend consideration of mandatory reporting of human rights due diligence more broadly, and not just in relation to slavery and human trafficking. As Oxfam pointed out in its submission, if companies do not conduct due diligence across all relevant human rights, they will not be effective in identifying and addressing instances of modern slavery.
The Greens support proposals to progressively introduce reporting requirements for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly those exposed to high risk factors. These risk factors include a reliance on temporary, seasonal or agency labour; an unskilled workforce; and supply chains that extend to countries that lack government regulations. The Greens support Anti-Slavery Australia’s proposal to consult with SMEs and civil society to develop supply chain reporting mechanisms that are appropriate for SMEs.