Open letter calls for Premier to proclaim Modern Slavery Act
A consortium of more than 117 organisations, academics, lawyers, and faith leaders has put their name to an open letter urging the NSW Premier to bring the state’s Modern Slavery Act into force by 1 January 2021.
In the open letter to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the consortium stresses concern with regard to the effect of the delay in increasing the numbers of people trapped in modern slavery and the expected impact of COVID-19 increasing the vulnerabilities of workers inside Australia and overseas within supply chains connecting products to Australia.
Paul Redmond is Emeritus Professor of Law at UNSW, and one of the signatories.
“The Act was passed and assented in June 2018. Bringing it into force should have been a formality. Rather than proclaim the legislation into force, Gladys Berejiklian’s government took the unusual step of delaying its proclamation and then launching a parliamentary inquiry into the Act,” he said.
In the two years since the Act was passed, it is estimated that as many as 18 million people around the world may have been deceived or coerced into different forms of modern slavery.
The NSW Modern Slavery Act has been lauded internationally as having some of the world’s strongest reporting provisions including penalties. It also directs all NSW government agencies to respond to the risk of modern slavery in their own procurement.
“The legislation recognises that modern slavery is prevalent around the world and in NSW. What we buy may contribute to modern slavery crimes somewhere in the supply chain,” said Be Slavery Free’s Carolyn Kitto.
“The government had committed to a strong deterrent through ensuring that the goods and services NSW consumers, businesses and government buy is not produced by the slavery of others. I am sure the people of NSW and the parliament want to see the Act in effect.”
The letter addressed to the Premier Berejiklian, requesting she expedite the process for the Act to come into force by 1 January 2021, was delivered earlier today.
The NSW Modern Slavery Act passed both houses of parliament unanimously in June 2018.
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