Proposed Modern Slavery Act Reforms – Issues Paper Released

On 22 August 2022, the Federal Government released the issues paper for the statutory review of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (Act) for public consultation. The issues paper is part of the broader review of the Act which will consider the operation of the Act and options for improved operation and compliance.

The Modern Slavery Act currently requires reporting entities (being an entity based in, or operating in, Australia with an annual consolidated revenue of $100 million or more) to document the steps taken to assess and address risks of modern slavery in an annual modern slavery statement that is published on the Modern Slavery Statements Register, administered by the Australian Border Force.

It is likely that the review will result in substantial changes to the Act, particularly as the Labor Government has previously made it clear that it intends to strengthen the Act and impose penalties for non-compliance.

In summary, some of the key issues to be considered in the review include:

  • whether to introduce due diligence obligations;
  • whether to lower the reporting threshold below its current level of A$100 million in annual consolidated revenue;
  • whether to adjust reporting criteria;
  • the adequacy of the online register;
  • whether to introduce enforcement measures for non-compliance, including financial penalties; and
  • the role, function and powers of the proposed Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

Next steps

We recommend that businesses:

  • review their current modern slavery risk mitigation practices to ensure they are compliant with current requirements;
  • take steps to strengthen their modern slavery due diligence processes; and
  • consider lodging a submission as part of the review: click here

Public consultation is open until 22 November 2022 by:

  • completing an online survey; or
  • drafting a written submission.

More information

If you have any queries or would like further information about this article, please contact:

Kathryn Speed
M: 0408 446 013

Ella Wade
T: (03) 6235 5161

Published: 15 September 2022

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