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Inquiry recommends a national compensation scheme

Date published: Friday 8 December 2017

Category(ies): News

The Parliament's Inquiry into Establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia has tabled its report. The recommendations include a national compensation scheme to help support victims.

The report recommends the establishment of a Modern Slavery Act which would include a new Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and mandatory supply chain reporting for all large entities with more than $50 million in annual revenue. Smaller entities would be able to opt-in to the reporting regime.

The Committee undertaking the inquiry has recommended the introduction of penalties and compliance measures for non-complying companies including an online listing.

"This report's recommendations are a very hopeful sign," said Baptist Care Australia Executive Director, Marcia Balzer.

"Baptist World Aid Australia has been at the forefront of advocacy to introduce a modern slavery act, and we also called on the Government to do this at the 2017 Converge event, where Baptist leaders met with more than 40 federal parliamentarians.

"The report has stopped short of recommending specific compliance measures, which is a little disappointing. We think strong enforcement is an important component of ensuring companies do what's required to ensure their supply chains are free of slavery and exploitation."

There are also a number of recommendations to support victims of modern slavery, including funding a national compensation scheme through the proceeds of crime where possible or via the Australian Government.

The Australian Law Council has come out in strong support of the compensation scheme recommendation, calling it "a watershed recommendation".

The Council's President, Fiona McLeod SC, said, "A National Compensation Scheme is necessary not only to provide justice, but to ensure victims are incentivised to come forward and tell their stories."