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Progress on Federal Anti-Slavery Commissioner sends strong signal

IJM Australia 2 mins read

International Justice Mission (IJM) Australia applauds progress on the establishment of an Australian Anti-Slavery Commissioner, with the introduction of amendments to the Modern Slavery Act 2018 tabled by the Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus KC MP, in federal Parliament today.

Following advocacy by IJM Australia, the Albanese Government committed $8 million over four years in the 2023 Budget to establish the Commissioner.

The appointed Commissioner would work across Government, industry and civil society to support compliance with the Modern Slavery Act, improve transparency in supply chains and help fight modern slavery in Australia and overseas.

“We are very pleased to see the Albanese Government progressing their election commitment by taking this step to enshrine the Australian Anti-Slavery Commissioner in law,” IJM Australia Chief Advocacy Officer Grace Wong said.

“As IJM has long advocated, Australia has a significant role to play in fighting modern slavery both at home and overseas, and a robust and powerful Australian Anti-Slavery Commissioner is key to this.

“Independence is important to maintaining objectivity, and we are particularly pleased to see the Attorney-General today confirm the Commissioner will have the discretion to work as they need to.

“We also welcome the commitment to the role of the Commissioner as educator of community and business and ongoing research as well as transparency through annual reporting.

“Tragically, modern slavery is only a growing problem across the Indo Pacific and around the world.

“Australia has a crucial role to play in cracking down on human rights abuses in our supply chains to give Australians the confidence that the products we buy at home are not made off the back of human exploitation.

“We are pleased to see the Commissioner will have the power to make recommendations to the Australian Government about continuous improvement of modern slavery policy and are hopeful this advice will soon include an expansion of the Commissioner’s role to include investigative and enforcement powers.

“We look forward to working with the Australian Anti-Slavery Commissioner once appointed on the development of their strategic plan, and together continuing to move forward on this issue, led and informed by survivors of modern slavery,” Ms Wong stated.

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