“We welcome the Turnbull government’s announcement that it will pursue a Modern Slavery Act, an initiative that we have vocally supported,” Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“Greater global trade has boosted Australians’ living standards, but it also increases the risk that products and services sold here are tainted by the use of forced labour.
“Australians deserve to have confidence that their higher living standards have not come at the cost of human suffering.
“Increased transparency will help customers, investors and business partners distinguish whether companies are acting morally and working to maintain clean supply chains. Transparency also makes competition between businesses fairer.
“We commend the government’s proposal to have a central data repository, which will add further transparency to business efforts to combat modern slavery across the economy.
“We are open to independent oversight as per the UK Anti-Slavery Commissioner model, provided that the focus is on working with business to build capacity and lift performance in fighting modern slavery.
“We need a framework that encourages companies to continuously scour their supply chains for evidence of modern slavery, not one that names and shames businesses for exposing problems.
“We’re encouraged that the government wants to consult with industry to develop the most effective approach, and we look forward to working with them.
“There is now broad bipartisan support for a Modern Slavery Act. We urge both sides to cooperate on this important issue which should be beyond party politicking.”