Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network chair John McCarthy has welcomed the 30 recommendations contained in the Modern Slavery Act review report.
Mr McCarthy said the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) The first three years report by John McMillan “picks up a number of ACAN’s constructive suggestions around the role and powers of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner – a position the current Government promised to create during last year’s federal election campaign”.
“In particular, I appreciate the recommendation to give the Anti-Slavery Commissioner the power to specify that certain goods or commercial activities be reported in Modern Slavery Statements as global issues arise,” Mr McCarthy said.
“During the ACAN consultation with Professor McMillan, I conveyed the importance of the role of government procurement to drive improvements in supply chain transparency.
“Government agencies are among the largest purchasers of goods and services in the Australian economy, spending over $80 billion per annum. Government is best-placed to drive improvements in supply chains and set higher standards for both business and suppliers to government.”
The report was tabled in the federal Parliament last week and the Albanese Government will consult further with stakeholders before formulating its response.
ACAN executive officer Alison Rahill said the ball is now in the Government’s court to follow through with effective measures to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act.
“The Act so far has been a force for good. It does however need a champion with the power to lead and facilitate industry and stakeholder collaboration. This is a significant role of the Commissioner, in line with the overarching principle that ‘collaboration is key to combating modern slavery’.
“I welcome greater government engagement on modern slavery. Our successful collaboration in ACAN between Catholic organisations across health and aged care, education, social services sectors, is a testament to what can be achieved when there is a will to work together,” Ms Rahill said.