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Moe Turaga was the only person with lived experience as a victim-survivor of modern slavery to give evidence before an inquiry into the proposed legislation (ACAN)

The Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network has hailed the passage of legislation to appoint an Australian Anti-Slavery Commissioner. 

“This is a landmark moment for everyone who has been working for many years to strengthen Australia’s response to modern slavery,” ACAN program manager Jenny Stanger said. 

“The independent commissioner role will have a national platform to uphold the interests of victim-survivors, and to drive best practice among entities reporting under the Modern Slavery Act. 

“ACAN Program managers will be working closely and collaboratively with the new commissioner when he or she is appointed.” 

The Modern Slavery Amendment (Australian Anti-Slavery Commissioner) Bill 2023 passed federal Parliament on May 28. The legislation included several amendments advocated for by ACAN. 

ACAN consultant and survivor advocate Moe Turaga welcomed the fact the legislation includes a specific focus on victim-survivors, which he advocated for at a Senate hearing earlier this year. 

“Engagement with victim-survivors is now listed as one of the commissioner’s functions,” Mr Turaga said. “Making material publicly available to support victim-survivors also has to be a part of the commissioner’s strategic plan.” 

Mr Turaga was the only person with lived experience to give evidence before the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee hearing inquiry into the legislation held in Brisbane in February.

 In 2017, he also gave evidence to the Parliamentary Inquiry that produced the Hidden in Plain Sight report, the landmark report that led to the establishment of the Modern Slavery Act in 2018. 

“As someone who has been telling my own story for the last seven years, I’m really looking forward to working with my ACAN colleagues and the federal Anti-slavery Commissioner to improve the lives of people suffering in modern slavery,” Mr Turaga said. 


ACAN welcomes passage of anti-slavery legislation release (ACAN)