Good Shepherd Sisters Joan Murphy and Caroline Price attended the Annual ACRATH national conference in Sydney from 26-28 February 2019. Professor Jennifer Burn addressed the 2019 Conference. She is the new interim Anti-Slavery Commissioner for the State of New South Wales in Australia. Professor Burn has been a good friend of ACRATH for many years and before she was appointed to this new position had headed Anti-Slavery Australia.
New South Wales passed a Modern Slavery Act in June 2018. Professor Burn outlined the content of this Act, and also presented aspects of the Australian Government’s Modern Slavery Act which was passed in December 2018 and came into effect on 1 January 2019. Professor Burn thanked ACRATH members for their consistent lobbying of parliamentarians regarding the Modern Slavery Act. She noted that it has been along and arduous process but the outcome was well worth all the work involved.
The Modern Slavery Act is the world’s second anti-slavery law. Companies and public bodies with a turnover of $Aus100 million or more are now required to publish annual statements outlining the risk of slavery in their operations and supply chains and actions taken to address this. Two controversial omissions are penalties and independent oversight.
ACRATH members spent some time working in small groups to identify the challenges, share ideas and insights, and articulate ways on how the organisation can grow and be sustainable in the future. Australia is a large continent and different aspects of trafficking issues can be identified in different areas. All the group work was collated for the National Committee meeting which followed the conference.
The energy and activity of the small groups was lively and creative - we hope to continue to work together to address the issues of modern day slavery and exploitation.
Submitted by Caroline Price
4 March 2019