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Bishop Brian Mascord, left, Alison Rahill, business representatives Benjamin Rieck and Nicola Arvidson, and James Cockayne at the Illawarra Business Forum (ACAN)

Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong has co-hosted a landmark business forum to build awareness with organisations about the risk of modern slavery. Source: ACAN.

The Illawarra Business Forum, facilitated by the Australian Catholic Anti-slavery Network (ACAN), shared the latest official advice and expertise on managing modern slavery risk in corporate operations and supply chains.

Procurement and governance experts from across the New South Wales South Coast attended, including representatives of Catholic schools and local suppliers. In opening the forum, Wollongong Bishop Brian Mascord described the issue of modern slavery as an urgent concern in an interconnected world.

“As we gather today, it’s imperative that we address this pressing issue with a comprehensive and collaborative approach,” Bishop Mascord said.

The bishop shared details of the Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong’s work as part of the ACAN Modern Slavery Risk Management program, emphasising the importance of sharing resources to educate people about modern slavery.

“There will be people experiencing modern slavery in our local area, and we have to be honest and own that. But we also have to do something about it,” Bishop Mascord said.

A range of guest speakers covered a broad range of activities as part of the overall modern slavery response.

The NSW Anti-Slavery Commissioner James Cockayne gave a comprehensive presentation on the new Guidance on Reasonable Steps for more than 400 public entities in NSW, who also have a legislative obligation to address modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains, and to report on those risks at a state level.

ACAN Program Manager Alison Rahill said that the commissioner’s guidance will improve business response and management of modern slavery risk in operations and supply chains.

“Catholic organisations in ACAN have been engaging with suppliers for several years about modern slavery risk. To have the same standards now expected in public procurement policy and practice, at least across the NSW public sector, will be a significant boost to overall efforts,” Ms Rahill said.


Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong hosts landmark modern slavery forum (ACAN)