Jacquie Seemann and Bridget Nunn

Changes to NSW modern slavery laws

Jacquie Seemann and Bridget Nunn

6 December 2021

Legislation Update

The NSW parliament has passed significant changes to its new modern slavery legislation to harmonise it with the federal law. The Modern Slavery Act 2018 (NSW) will now begin on 1 January, 2022.

Background

The original NSW Act was passed by Parliament in 2018 but never took effect.  The commencement of the NSW Act was delayed following the passing of the Federal Act, to enable inconsistencies between the two Acts to be identified and addressed.

Amendments to the NSW Act

The NSW Act has now been amended to:

  • not require commercial organisations to file modern slavery statements under the NSW Act;
  • require any State-owned corporations that are not already obliged to prepare modern slavery statements under the Federal Act to ‘volunteer’ to file a modern slavery statement in accordance with the Federal Act and publish the statement;
  • provide further detail on the role of the Anti-Slavery Commissioner;
  • exclude State-owned corporations and companies that have a NSW minister as a shareholder from the definition of ‘government agency’, meaning that those entities will not be required to comply with particular obligations placed on government agencies under the NSW Act.

Consequences of amendments

The amendments mean that non-government entities largely will not be affected by the commencement of the NSW Act.  However, businesses will still need to comply with reporting requirements under the Federal Act, which apply to entities with a consolidated revenue of at least $100 million.

The NSW Government will now be subject to the scrutiny of the Anti-Slavery Commissioner as a result of the commencement of the NSW Act and, accordingly, will likely have an increased interest in the measures taken by its suppliers to address risks of modern slavery.  Likewise, all State-owned corporations will be required to investigate their supply chains as a result of the requirement to voluntarily report under the Federal Act.

In light of this, entities that currently perform or that are looking to perform work for the NSW Government should review measures they have in place to address risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains; and, if they are not already required to report under the Federal Act, consider whether they should volunteer to do so.

For assistance or more information about business requirements under modern slavery laws, please contact a member of the Employment, Workplace Relations and Safety Team.

Authors

Jacquie Seemann | Partner | +61 2 9020 5757 | jseemann@tglaw.com.au

Bridget Nunn | Special Counsel | +61 8 8236 1129 | bnunn@tglaw.com.au