Insights / January 22nd, 2024

How to Comply With the NSW Modern Slavery Act: Breaking down the NSW Anti-slavery Commissioner’s Guidance

The New South Wales Anti-Slavery Commissioner has released guidance for the purpose of providing NSW Government agencies, local councils and universities a framework as to what constitutes ‘reasonable steps’ to ensure they do not procure products of modern slavery (Guidance).

The Guidance provides very detailed information with respect to how a covered entity should take steps to engage key stakeholders, identify risks, conduct appropriate sourcing and manage and remedy issues where necessary.  The Guidance focuses heavily on reporting mechanisms that should be in place to ensure a victim-centred reporting protocol, which is critical to ensuring that victims of modern slavery are able to seek help and receive assistance as quickly and effectively as possible.

From 1 July, covered entities will be expected to file an online report about each contract the entity is party to that:

  • commenced on or after 1 July 2024;

  • has a value of $150,000 or more; and

  • requires heightened modern slavery due diligence based on the inherent modern slavery risk level.

The Guidance satisfies the calls from entities for more guidance and detail regarding their obligations.  However, the document is almost 200 pages long and contains some fairly advanced risk methodologies and other information which can be difficult to digest for people not necessarily familiar with modern slavery compliance.

Having detailed Guidance is critical for Public Buyers to gain a deeper understanding of what the NSW Anti-Slavery Commissioner expects from them.  It also provides the covered entities with a clear framework to report against which will hopefully reduce the risks of a ‘tick box’ approach without meaningful compliance.

Given the level of detail within the Guidance, our ESG team is hosting a masterclass on Wednesday 28 February 2024 to help covered entities understand how they can most efficiently implement and maintain practices that will ensure compliance with the Guidance and the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (NSW). Register to attend in person at our Sydney CBD office here or online here.

If you have any questions in the interim or would like further information, please reach out to Emma Peters, the head of our ESG team.

This publication has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only and does not constitute professional legal advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional legal advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication and to the extent permitted by law, Cowell Clarke does not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of you or anyone else acting or refraining to act in relation on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.