Page 1906 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 27 June 2023

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The report makes four recommendations as part of its inquiry. While the committee supports the intent of the bill and does not preclude legislation being made in this space, the committee recommends that the Assembly does not pass the bill in its current form. In light of the evidence provided by the New South Wales Anti-slavery Commissioner and the findings from the McMillan review of the federal system, there is currently provision for changes that could be made in the interim to the existing arrangements to improve procurement practices relating to modern slavery. This could be through the creation of a collaborative oversight body from various ACT government agencies in the first instance.

On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank those who contributed to the committee’s inquiry during the hearing and those who made a submission to the inquiry. I commend the report to the Assembly.

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (10.04): I want to speak briefly about the committee’s report on my Modern Slavery Legislation Amendment Bill 2023. I want to thank the committee and all the individuals and organisations who took the time to make a submission. It was a really short time frame, and there is a lot going on nationally in this context. It was really good to see that there was support for a strong legislative response in the ACT from The Freedom Hub, ACRATH, the Human Rights Commissioner, ACTCOSS, the Salvation Army, and the New South Wales Anti-slavery Commissioner, as well as many individuals.

It is a really active space at that moment. The Commonwealth has just funded the establishment of a federal anti-slavery commissioner, the NSW Anti-slavery Commissioner was appointed last year, and there are moves in other jurisdictions like Victoria and Western Australia to ensure that modern slavery is not part of government supply chains. I am really looking forward to the ACT joining that movement.

I undertook writing this bill as a private member with help from many academics, advocacy organisations and national organisations who are working with survivors of modern slavery. We are living in difficult times. We have 50 million people worldwide living in conditions of modern slavery, which is more than at any point in human history, so we know we need to move on this, and that is one of the reasons we have a legislative response to modern slavery in the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement.

The submissions were detailed and thoughtful. A lot of them made some excellent drafting comments and technical changes, and we are looking forward in our office to digging in, re-drafting and addressing those issues. It is really important that our response to modern slavery is educative and iterative. It is important that we have a good community conversation, and I am so pleased we had a committee inquiry to advance that—that was really good to see—and it is important that we have a bill that reflects all the inputs we have received, particularly from the New South Wales Anti-slavery Commissioner, who has some incredibly valuable insights for us after his first year in the job.

We are the third Australian jurisdiction taking a serious look at this problem, but there are probably another two who are about to jump on board, so we really need to make

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