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Monash University wants Australian government to help regulate slavery prevention

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
Monash University wants Australian government to help regulate slavery prevention

Monash University released a statement saying that companies have made “substantial improvements” in identifying modern slavery risks. Monash now wants the federal government to assist in further regulation.

Australia’s Modern Slavery Act 2018 (MSA) says: “This Act requires entities based, or operating, in Australia, which have an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million, to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and actions to address those risks. Other entities based, or operating, in Australia may report voluntarily.”

“The Commonwealth is required to report on behalf of non‑corporate Commonwealth entities, and the reporting requirements also apply to Commonwealth corporate entities and companies with an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million.”


Monash University’s Modern Slavery Research Program, run by Monash Business School, investigates whether companies are adequately complying with the legislation.

The business school notes the importance of this regulation on its website: “Modern slavery disclosure is a critical step in mitigating the risk associated with modern slavery practices in companies’ operations and supply chains. The quality of the disclosure signals the level of commitments and efforts that the companies have put in managing these risks.”

Now Monash University is calling on the federal government to assist in regulation. The university said in its Modern Slavery Disclosure Quality Ratings report that government assistance is needed to help monitor actions and ensure that compliance is met, as there are still companies who aren’t keeping up to standard.

Dr Nga Pham, senior research fellow from the Monash Centre for Financial Studies said: “A review of the Act is currently underway. One of our recommendations is that the Australian government must review the quality of the modern slavery statements submitted and provide timely feedback to ensure reporting quality and consistency.”

“More guidance is needed for companies to improve their remediation mechanisms and processes. The government should strengthen the Act and its guidance document.”

The Modern Slavery Research Program report detailed positive steps being made. 64 per cent of 2021–22’s statements were better than the previous financial year, and none were worse.

A-rated statements stood at 26 per cent, and B-rated were 31 per cent. Both saw an increase from the previous year, where they both were 15 per cent. While only in its second year, improvements are being noticed.

However, one in 12 received a fail grade of E or F. Monash said this is “disappointing” and noted that due diligence is key to curving trends.

Dr Pham said: “The best statements are getting better, with new practices around due diligence and remediation processes, as well as processes for reporting entities to use to assess the effectiveness of their actions.”

“Asset managers and asset owners should walk their talk, take actions to combat modern slavery, and report well under the Act,” said Dr Pham.

According to Monash University, modern slavery may refer to a number of human rights issues, such as slavery, human trafficking, forced labour, child labour, deceptive recruitment, debt bondage, or forced marriage.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.