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But unions and Labor say the changes will be “inadequate and ineffective” without the creation of an independent anti-slavery commissioner or penalties for corporations that breach their new requirements.
The government has been urged to act on modern slavery following a series of revelations of widespread exploitation, including of migrant fruit pickers in Australia, domestic workers in Australian embassies, and children in foreign orphanages.
Last week, it announced further detail on how it would create a new reporting regime designed to drive transparency among big businesses with a turnover of more than $100m. The 3,000 companies will be forced to publish an annual modern slavery statement detailing their efforts to reduce modern slavery in their supply chains. The federal government will be forced to issue its own consolidated statement on modern slavery in its procurement.
The statements will be kept in a publicly-accessible central repository, and the regime will be overseen by a new unit in the home affairs department.
“This legislation sends a clear message that modern slavery will not be tolerated in our community or in the supply chains of our goods and services,” assistant home affairs minister, Alex Hawke, said.
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