Hidden in Plain Sight
A Modern Slavery Act for Australia?
Throughout 2017 the Foreign Affairs and Aid Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade conducted an inquiry into whether Australia should have a Modern Slavery Act similar to the one in the UK. After receiving 225 submissions, holding 10 public hearing and extensive consultation with civil society organisations and businesses the committee tabled its report, Hidden in Plain Sight, in Parliament on Thursday 7th December. Recommendations include:
- the introduction of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia
- the establishment of an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner
- mandatory annual supply chain reporting for entities with a total revenue of $50 million or more
- the de-linking of access to the Support for Trafficked People Program and the Human Trafficking Visa Framework (including the Bridging F visa and Referred Stay (Permanent) visa) from compliance with criminal investigations
- extension of the 45 day period of initial support available under the Support for Trafficked People Program to a minimum of 90 days, with multiple options for extension
- the establishment a national compensation scheme for victims of modern slavery in Australia, modelled on existing victim compensation schemes administered by the Commonwealth
- urgent review of Australia’s visa framework for migrants to replace or eliminate ‘tied’ visa conditions, such as employer sponsorship and sign-off requirements, that often create conditions of vulnerability to exploitation and modern slavery
ACRATH has long been engaged in advocating for many of these issues. We welcome the report and live in hope that the recommendations will be accepted by the Commonwealth Government and so be enshrined in national policy. We thank the Committee not only for their commitment to the Inquiry process but also for their determination to promote means of eliminating human trafficking and slavery in Australia and beyond. Hidden in Plain Sight can be accessed here.