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Combatting modern slavery in construction and property industry  

Business and Human Rights
Man on ladder on building site. Modern Slavery construction industry cover.

The first of five industry-specific guides to help Australian businesses combat modern slavery has been released today as part of a collaboration between the Australian Human Rights Commission and KPMG Australia. 

Property, Construction and Modern Slavery: Practical responses to managing risks to people is designed to help this industry respond effectively to the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth). 

The Act requires certain large companies to report annually on their efforts to address risks of modern slavery in their global operations and supply chains. The guide outlines the key modern slavery risks areas for the property and construction sector and highlights practical examples from Australian companies in the sector in response to modern slavery risks. 

The guide is part of a two-year collaboration between Commission and KPMG which aims to support business to respond effectively to their modern slavery risks. 

Modern slavery refers to a range of serious human rights violations, which are also crimes in Australia. They include trafficking in persons, slavery, servitude, forced marriage, forced labour, debt bondage, child labour, and deceptive recruiting for labour or services.  

Commission Chief Executive Padma Raman today joined KPMG's Nigel Virgo, Partner Audit and Assurance and Real Estate Sector Lead and Jean-Louis Haie, Director, Human Rights & Social Impact Services in a webinar to discuss modern slavery risk identification and management in the property and construction sector, particularly in the context of COVID-19 in Australia and globally.  

According to the Global Slavery Index, more than 40 million people are living in modern slavery conditions globally, with up to 15,000 victims living in Australia.  

The guide is relevant not only to businesses in the property and construction sector required to report under the Modern Slavery Act but also to their suppliers and investors with assets in the property and construction sector.   

Guidance for a range of other industries, including the health, food and beverage and finance sectors is currently in development and will be released in coming months.