Thursday, 6 April 2017
2:00pm – 5:00pm
Modern slavery in its many forms – human trafficking, forced labour and debt bondage among others – continues to impact millions around the world, including in Australia and Australian supply chains.
Modern slavery is a human rights issue. As part of the internationally recognised business responsibility to respect human rights, companies are increasingly expected to understand and address their risks of involvement in modern slavery through their own business and supply chains. It is unlikely that any Australian supply chain is free from modern slavery – accordingly, businesses must take steps to identify and address their modern slavery risks. Stakeholders, including investors, customers and NGOs are also increasingly demanding proactive efforts by business to tackle modern slavery, and the issue has also seen a number of Australian companies in the headlines for both allegations of involvement in abuse and positive steps.
The regulatory landscape is also shifting. 2015 saw the introduction of the UK Modern Slavery Act requiring companies with a global annual turnover of over £36 million and which “carry on” business or part of a business (i.e. have a demonstrable presence) in any part of the United Kingdom to publish statements as to the steps (if any) they are taking to identify and address modern slavery risks in their activities and supply chains. So far over 1,500 companies have published statements under the Act, including approximately 10 Australian companies. Now, the Australian Government has announced an inquiry into whether Australia should introduce equivalent legislation to the UK Modern Slavery Act.
The Forum will build businesses’ capacity to engage in the discussion around the possibility of an Australian Modern Slavery Act, and to respond to their modern slavery risks, and build networks with relevant stakeholders.
Participants at this multi-stakeholder event will hear from speakers from across sectors, including:
- Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation
- Chris Crewther MP, Chair, Foreign Affairs and Aid Sub-Committee (responsible for overseeing Australian Government’s Modern Slavery Act inquiry)
- Andrew Forrest, Chairman, Fortescue Metals Group and Founder, Walk Free
- Gershon Nimbalker, Advocacy Manager, Baptist World Aid. The event will be moderated by business and human rights expert
- Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, Home Secretary, UK Government
- Ben Walker, Head of Sustainable Development, ANZ Bank
- Vanessa Zimmerman, Chair, GCNA Human Rights Leadership Group
The forum will explore:
- What modern slavery is including how it may manifest in both emerging and developed economies
- How businesses can identify and address their modern slavery (and related legal, financial and reputational) risks
- How the regulatory landscape is shifting
- How leading businesses are responding
- Where the Australian Government is currently at on the issue