The Australian Border Force (ABF) has published its report on the first tranche of modern slavery statements submitted to the Online Register for Modern Slavery Statements under the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act 2018.
The ABF says it is closely monitoring the quality of statements and has identified the following good-practice trends and areas for improvement.
- Clearly addressing mandatory criteria for content and use headings that align to each criterion or providing illustrative tables that set out where specific criteria are addressed in the statement.
- Addressing COVID-19 impacts: directly consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the entity’s operations and supply chains, including by recognising where modern slavery risks have increased and explaining how the reporting entity is responding to these increased risks.
- Assessing effectiveness: recognise the importance of evaluating the effectiveness of actions taken to combat modern slavery during each reporting period and include clear plans to track the effectiveness of the reporting entity’s response.
- Collaboration: include information about collaboration with other entities to address modern slavery, including government, business peers, workers and their representatives, and civil society.
- Plans for future action: commit to continuous improvement and explain how the reporting entity will refine its response in future years.
- Case studies: provide practical examples of how the reporting entity is
addressing modern slavery risks, including through supplier engagement or collaboration with civil society.
Areas for improvement
- Statements must meet the requirements for approval and signature set out in the Act (namely principal governing body approval and signature by a responsible member). The ABF will not register statements that do not clearly comply with these requirements.
- Some statements developed to comply with modern slavery reporting laws overseas have not been amended to address the Australian Act’s mandatory criteria for content.
- Some statements submitted by overseas corporate groups do not identify the Australian reporting entity/entities covered by the statement. The reporting entity/ies need to be clearly identified in the statement.
- Some statements note that modern slavery risk areas have been identified but do not describe the nature, context or extent of these risks.
- Some statements do not describe how the reporting entity/ies consulted with owned or controlled entities to prepare the statement.
- Some joint statements do not describe how the entity giving the statement consulted with the reporting entity/ies covered by the statement to prepare the statement.
If you found this article helpful, then subscribe to our news emails to keep up to date and look at our video courses for in-depth training. Use the search box at the top right of this page or the categories list on the right hand side of this page to check for other articles on the same or related matters.
Author: David Jacobson
Principal, Bright Corporate Law
About David Jacobson
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. It is not to be relied upon as a full statement of the law. You should seek professional advice for your specific needs and circumstances before acting or relying on any of the content.