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The Salvation Army marks modern slavery milestone

28 June 2018

The Salvation Army is gearing up to support the journey of the modern slavery legislation through Federal Parliament.

The legislation was introduced by the Federal Government today after almost a decade of work by The Salvation Army and partners in the freedom network.

“We have worked tirelessly to reach this milestone. We are proud to have played a leading role in the fight against modern slavery and in the development of this crucial legislation,” The Salvation Army Freedom Partnership’s National Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Heather Moore said.

The bill includes a modern slavery reporting requirement, which will require approximately 3,000 large businesses and other entities to publish annual statements on their actions to address modern slavery in their supply chains and operations.

The reporting requirement includes several elements The Salvation Army and its coalition partners recommended throughout last year's Modern Slavery Act Inquiry, including: a publicly accessible, government-funded repository for statements; mandatory reporting criteria with effectiveness measures; and extensive guidance and support for reporting bodies.

“Together, these components will begin to facilitate greater transparency, accountability, and a common understanding of what defines success,” Ms Moore said.

The Salvation Army is particularly pleased that the Government will lead by example by holding itself to the same standards as business and others required to report under the legislation.

"This is the first step toward establishing greater transparency of where the risks of slavery are and who is doing what to address those risks. We cannot end slavery if we don't know where it is; nor can we assist those trapped in exploitation without ensuring that no one can profit on the backs of vulnerable people to undercut their competitors," Ms Moore said.

While The Salvation Army notes the progress signalled by today’s announcement, there remain key gaps in the Government's proposal, including the exclusion of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner, a verified public list of those entities thought to be captured under the legislation, and incentivises to encourage accurate and timely reporting.

"We see all of these aspects as essential to a substantive Modern Slavery Act,” Ms Moore said.

The Salvation Army commends the work of Assistant Minister Alex Hawke and his staff at Home Affairs in bringing this legislation to parliament.

“We would encourage all members and senators to work towards the best outcome for victims of exploitation and modern slavery in Australia.”

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