Walk Free Foundation founder, Mr Andrew Forrest AO, today welcomed the announcement by the Australian Government to introduce an historic Modern Slavery Act for Australia.
Mr Forrest said enacting this legislation would be a game-changer in the fight to end modern slavery, both here and overseas.
“This is a tremendous decision and will be a major blow against slavery in the Asian region,” he said. “The Australian Government is to be congratulated for its leadership in introducing this measure. There is bi-partisan support for the legislation, so the Government can move quickly to have it passed.”
Mr Forrest declared that the business sector had strongly backed this move and was determined to play its part in driving slavery from businesses and supply chains.
“We know governments can’t defeat the insidious abuse of our fellow humans on their own. By enlisting the power of business, we can ensure that slavery is not part of the goods that Australians buy and consume.
“I welcome the measures announced today and will continue to work with the Government to ensure that we create an UK-style Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Office to coordinate a stronger domestic response.”
Mr Forrest said the announcement would be a great boost to Australia’s leadership on the issue at next week’s inaugural meeting in Perth of the Bali Process Government and Business Forum, Co-Chaired by Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister the Hon Julie Bishop, MP, and her Indonesian counterpart, Her Excellency Ms Retno Marsudi. The Business Co-Chairs are Indonesia’s Mr Eddy Sariaatmadja, Chairman of Emtek, and Mr Forrest.
The Chief Executive Officer of Walk Free Foundation, Ms Jenn Morris OAM, said, “While we welcome the planned consultation with business, it is important we now move quickly to ensure this legislation is enacted.” She also praised the Government‘s commitment to a central repository – a public and free searchable database identifying the affected companies and the efforts they have made to identify, and deal with, slavery within their supply chains.
An estimated 45.8 million people are subjected to conditions of modern slavery, with more than half in the Indo-Pacific region.
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