The Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (MSA) is now officially law in Australia.
On 10 December 2018, the Modern Slavery Bill received royal assent after passing both houses in the Federal Parliament. This follows the Bill’s successful passage through the NSW Parliament in June earlier this year and the overwhelming support to create Australia’s first laws to tackle modern slavery.
- Who needs to comply with the MSA?
Australian companies (or foreign companies who carry on business in Australia) that have a revenue of more than $100 million must report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their business supply chains, including any entities owned or controlled by them and outline the actions to address the risks identified.
The same rules apply for Commonwealth corporate entities.
For other companies who are under the threshold, modern slavery reporting may be submitted voluntarily.
- When does the MSA start?
Sections 1 and 2 of the MSA are now in effect. These sections deal with preliminary contents, definitions and the modern slavery statement requirements under the MSA.
The rest of the MSA is to commence very early in 2019 either by proclamation or after 7 January 2019 (28 days after assent).
- What needs to be included in the report?
Under the MSA, the mandatory report referred to as a ‘modern slavery statement’ must address the following criteria to be compliant:
- entity name;
- describe the entity’s structure, operations and supply chains;
- describe the risks of modern slavery practices in the entity’s operations and supply chains, including any entities that are owned or controlled;
- describe the actions taken to assess and address those risks including due diligence and remediation processes (for eg. policies and processes and training for staff);
- report on the effectiveness of any actions taken above;
- describe the consultation process to address the risks both internally and externally; and
- any other relevant information.
The report to be submitted within 6 months after the end of the entity’s financial year.
The extent of the information will be assessed as the MSA is in effect.
- Who can access the modern slavery statements?
The modern slavery statements submitted will be recorded in a ‘Modern Slavery Statements Register’.
This register was specifically created under the MSA and is available to the public to view and access free of charge.
Mandatory reporting companies (and those voluntary reporting companies) can choose to publish their modern slavery statements in their reports, documents or on their websites at their own discretion.
- What happens if a mandatory reporting company does not file a report?
If company fails to submit a modern slavery statement the Minister may write to the company to request an explanation and remedial action.
Any failure to provide a statement or an adequate response will result in the Minister being able to publish on the public register the identity of the company including the details of the company’s failure to comply with the MSA.
If you need assistance in preparing for that organisational change and building the necessary compliance and reporting systems, please contact Michael Morrissey at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (02) 8077 0668.
Disclaimer: This publication by Morrissey Law & Advisory is for general information and commentary only and should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in relation to any matters or transactions that may arise in relation with communication.