Corporate human rights reporting in Australia has changed.

The Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) makes boards responsible for public statements about their entities’ efforts to assess and manage the risk of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. More importantly, it has triggered an increase in stakeholder expectations around human rights and is influencing major business decisions in terms of investment, partnership or procurement.

The health services sector faces an elevated risk of modern slavery within its operations and supply chains as a result of intersecting factors, including:

  • rapid sector growth accompanied by workforce and technological change
  • a surge in demand for medical goods and frontline care
  • significant operational and supply chain disruption as a result of the global pandemic
  • low visibility over increasingly complex and multi-tiered supply chains which cross into other high-risk sectors, across high-risk geographies
  • a broad range of operating activities that require sourcing of goods from high-risk sectors where base-skill labour, vulnerable populations and high-risk business models come together
  • lack of transparency in recruitment processes and the use of agency labour contractors.

The recent spotlight on health sector organisations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has not only highlighted the critical importance of the health sector, but also the sector’s modern slavery risks, especially in relation to the procurement of medical goods. Taking a rights-based approach to addressing modern slavery will assist health sector organisations to meet the increasing expectations of investors, governments, clients, consumers, business peers and civil society around business respect for human rights.

Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM
President
Australian Human Rights Commission

 

A practical guide

KPMG Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission have collaborated to bring you ‘Modern Slavery in the Health Services Sector’, a practical guide to:

  • highlight key modern slavery risk areas across the operations and supply chains of health service sector organisations
  • provide tips for the health services sector on leading practice and a rights-based approach to managing modern slavery risk
  • foster transparent modern slavery reporting for the benefit of organisations, government and the people at risk of harm.

  

Over the coming months, KPMG and the Australian Human Rights Commission will release a series of sector-specific guides.

 

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