Coalition of rights teams and teachers calls on the federal government to strengthen anti-slavery laws.
Australian companies are nonetheless failing to handle clear compelled labour dangers of their provide chains practically 4 years after the introduction of landmark trendy slavery legal guidelines, an investigation by human rights teams has discovered.
Two out of three firms are nonetheless failing to adjust to legally-required reporting necessities, whereas greater than half have did not comply with by means of on commitments to enhance their anti-slavery efforts, a coalition of rights teams and teachers mentioned in a report launched on Thursday.
The group, which incorporates the Australian Human Rights Institute and the UK-based Enterprise and Human Rights Useful resource Centre, mentioned the Australian authorities ought to overhaul its anti-slavery laws to make sure firms aren’t utilizing compelled labour of their provide chains.
It really useful that the legislation be strengthened to require companies to undertake due diligence on their provide chains, introduce penalties for non-compliance, and set up an unbiased anti-slavery commissioner.
The report, Damaged Guarantees: Two years of company reporting underneath Australia’s Trendy Slavery Act, is predicated on company statements submitted to the federal government by 92 firms that supply from industries thought-about to be susceptible to trendy slavery. The at-risk industries are clothes in China, rubber gloves in Malaysia, seafood in Thailand, and contemporary produce in Australia.
Underneath Australia’s Trendy Slavery Act, launched in 2018, massive companies are required to publish annual statements on the efforts they’re making to deal with trendy slavery of their provide chains and operations.
The laws has been criticised as weak by some labour unions and activists because it solely covers companies with annual income of greater than $100m and doesn’t embody monetary penalties.
Justine Nolan, director of the Australian Human Rights Institute on the College of New South Wales, mentioned Australian firms ought to transfer from a “paper-driven” response to “efficient motion” on trendy slavery.
“Too many firms are nonetheless failing to determine apparent dangers or are merely making obscure guarantees that aren’t being fulfilled,” Nolan mentioned.
“Whereas the Trendy Slavery Act has generated elevated enterprise consciousness of the dangers of contemporary slavery, this has not but translated into efficient practices to remediate and get rid of it.
“This report reveals an urgency to strengthen the legislation to require motion not simply reporting, in addition to to equip and useful resource a regulator to supply higher oversight and enforcement of the Act.”