The goods and services enjoyed by Australians should not be produced by people in other countries working under slavery-like conditions. Any requirements proposed for Australian businesses to address modern slavery must be carefully targeted to ensure they squarely address the issue and do not lock small and medium sized Australian businesses out of supply chains, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.
Responding to today’s announcement that the Australian Government intends to pursue Modern Slavery in Supply Chains Reporting Requirements, the Australian Chamber’s Director – Workplace Relations, Scott Barklamb said:
“Australia’s business community wants to see an effective, balanced and practical response to this pressing global concern. Australian businesses want to be sure the goods and services they use and sell are not produced by people in other countries working in slavery-like conditions.
“The Australian Chamber will work with Government to get the balance right to deliver practical, useable reporting arrangements for our largest companies and their international supply chains. Any reporting system must be carefully designed to avoid shifting the burden onto Australian small businesses who supply large companies, or locking them out of supply chains.
“The reporting system should recognise business led efforts already in place to address the issue.
“The Australian Government has an opportunity to put in place a system that will be effective and enjoy the support of the Australian business community through genuine engagement and consultation with business and by drawing on international experience.
[The United Kingdom introduced modern slavery legislation and reporting requirements for its largest enterprises in 2015. The Minister for Justice today released a public consultation paper and regulatory impact statement on Modern Slavery in Supply Chains and Appropriate Reporting Requirements for Australia].