On 1 January 2019, the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (Act) commenced and introduced a new statutory requirement for eligible companies to assess and report on the risks of modern slavery identified in their operations and supply chains (as well as the steps taken to address those risks).
Modern slavery occurs in circumstances where coercion, threats or deception are used to exploit or undermine an individual’s freedoms. Human trafficking, slavery, servitude, debt bondage and forced marriage or labour are all examples of modern slavery
The Act affects larger businesses that carry on business in Australian and have a minimum annual consolidated revenue of $100 million. Entities that do not meet this threshold may also voluntarily comply with the Act, if they wish to do so.
Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement
Entities required to comply with the reporting requirement must prepare a modern slavery statement each year, which are then submitted to, and published on, a publicly accessible online government register. For those entities whose financial reporting period runs from 1 July to 30 June, the first reporting deadline has been temporarily extended from 31 December 2020 to 31 March 2021. For entities which have a different financial reporting period, the deadline for compliance is 31 December 2020.
Failure to Comply
Eligible businesses that fail to comply with the Act will be required to explain their failure and take remedial action. The Government may also publish and publicly name those businesses who are non-complaint, which in turn may have a negative impact on the public perception of those businesses. Noting the impending first reporting deadline, it is important to review and consider whether or not your business is required to comply with the reporting requirement of the Act.