Two Thirds Of Businesses Failing To Comply With Modern Slavery Act

"Laws need to evolve"

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Sixty-six per cent of companies have failed to comply with basic reporting requirements under the Modern Slavery Act, a new report has revealed.

Australia’s Modern Slavery Act was introduced over three years ago and is currently under a three-year statutory review led by Prof John McMillan.

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The report, Broken Promises, investigated 92 businesses across four sectors known to have risks of modern slavery: garments from China, rubber gloves from Malaysia, seafood from Thailand and fresh produce from Australia.

It also found over half of the commitments (56 per cent) made in the first year of reporting by those companies investigated have failed to be fulfilled.

Forty-three per cent of companies still are failing to identify obvious modern slavery risks within their businesses.


Senior Lawyer for Human Rights Law Centre Freya Dinshaw said the act is currently “failing workers” with their little evidence the “law is driving meaningful action”.

“Our modern slavery laws need to evolve so that they put people, rather than paperwork, at their centre,” she said.

“In order to be more effective, the Act should be amended to require companies to take action to address modern slavery risks rather than just reporting on their current practices.”

Ms Dinshaw suggested the Modern Slavery Act should impose consequences on businesses not adhering to the standards set by the law.

“It should impose penalties on companies that fail to do so and have robust oversight and enforcement by an independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner."

“We urge the government to use the current statutory review to make these key reforms to strengthen the law”.


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17 November 2022

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