The Act requires companies to take necessary steps to identify and address modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. In this guide, we will explore what the Australia Modern Slavery Act requires of companies and the steps they must take to comply with the law.
The Act also applies to government entities and other organizations that provide goods and services to the Australian government and have an annual revenue of over AUD 100 million. In addition, smaller companies that do not meet the revenue threshold may voluntarily comply with the Act's requirements. It is essential for all covered companies to take the necessary steps to identify and address modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains and publish a modern slavery statement outlining their policies and processes to prevent modern slavery.
The New South Wales (NSW) Modern Slavery Act, which came into effect in 2019, applies to commercial organizations operating in NSW with an annual turnover of over AUD 50 million. This includes organizations that are incorporated in NSW, as well as those that carry on business in NSW but are registered in other states or territories of Australia. The Act also applies to government entities in NSW and other organizations that provide goods and services to the NSW government and have an annual turnover of over AUD 50 million.
Under the Act, the Australian Border Force has the power to investigate suspected cases of modern slavery and can issue infringement notices, initiate court proceedings, or refer cases to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for criminal prosecution.
If a company fails to publish a modern slavery statement or provides false or misleading information in its statement, it can face penalties of up to AUD 1.1 million. Directors or officers of the company who were involved in the contravention of the Act can also be held personally liable for the penalty.
In addition to legal penalties, non-compliance with the Act can also result in reputational damage and loss of investor confidence. With increasing awareness of modern slavery and the importance of corporate social responsibility, companies that fail to comply with the Act may face negative publicity and damage to their brand reputation.
The Australia Modern Slavery Act also emphasizes collaboration and reporting among companies and stakeholders to address modern slavery issues. Companies are encouraged to collaborate with other organizations to share best practices and develop initiatives to address modern slavery risks. They are also required to report any instances of modern slavery discovered in their operations or supply chains to the relevant authorities.
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