NSW Modern Slavery Act commencement deferred

The commencement of the NSW Modern Slavery Act has been deferred pending consideration of the Act by the NSW Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues for its inquiry and report. The Act will not proceed on 1 July 2019 as previously intended.

The relevant NSW Minister has announced that he has received advice that the legislation in its current form contains a number of defects requiring urgent attention. The consequence of these defects are such that if left unattended they would render some provisions of the Act inoperable.

He also explained that the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act creates an inconsistency of laws in several respects, resulting in a section 109 Commonwealth Constitution problem with the NSW Act.

It will be open to the committee to determine whether the Commonwealth’s comparable legislation renders part or possibly all of the New South Wales Act unnecessary.

No timetable or reporting date had yet been set for consideration of an amendment bill.

The Commonwealth Act applies to entities with an annual consolidated revenue of over $100 million. The NSW Act would apply to entities with employees or offices in NSW with a total annual turnover of $50 million.

The NSW Act provides that where an entity is subject to obligations under a law of the Commonwealth, to prevent duplication it does not need to report under the NSW Act.

But if an organisation’s revenue is between $50m and $100m it must report under the NSW Act.

If an organisation has revenue over $100million, its first reporting statement under the Commonwealth Act must be submitted by 31 December 2020 (if its next financial year ends on 30 June 2020).

You will need to consider reviewing your contracts with third parties as to whether those contracts include a provision relevant to modern slavery eg manufacture of uniforms overseas.

Financial service providers will need to consider whether customers comply with the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act.

Background

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