From the Voluntary to Mandatory Regime: The Race Is on for Modern Slavery Disclosure in Australia

39 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2022

See all articles by Isabella Panozzo

Isabella Panozzo

Independent

Searat Ali

University of Wollongong; University of Wollongong - School of Accounting, Economics & Finance

Jenny (Jing) Wang

University of Wollongong - School of Accounting, Economics & Finance

Millicent Chang

University of Wollongong

Date Written: September 18, 2022

Abstract

The Modern Slavery Act was enacted in Australia in 2018 to level the playing field and facilitate a “race to the top” by providing reputational incentives for companies to disclose modern slavery risks and the actions taken to assess and address those risks. This study examines the extent and quality of modern slavery statements (MSS) in financial and material companies. Content analysis reveals that the MSS are extensive though of low-quality and vary across industries and over time, with higher-quality information being provided by companies that have taken a “slow and steady” approach. This includes companies that have previously lodged statements in accordance with the UK Modern Slavery Act and especially those from the materials industry. These results provide empirical evidence of how Australian listed companies have reported against mandatory criteria and highlight areas that require greater attention and scrutiny from corporates, the government, and even civil society.

Keywords: Modern slavery, indecent work, disclosure, legislation, listed companies, Australia

Suggested Citation

Panozzo, Isabella and Ali, Searat and Ali, Searat and Wang, Jenny (Jing) and Chang, Millicent, From the Voluntary to Mandatory Regime: The Race Is on for Modern Slavery Disclosure in Australia (September 18, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4222183 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4222183

Isabella Panozzo

Independent ( email )

Searat Ali (Contact Author)

University of Wollongong ( email )

Northfields Avenue
Wollongong, NSW 2522
Australia
+61242392211 (Phone)

University of Wollongong - School of Accounting, Economics & Finance ( email )

Northfields Avenue
Wollongong, NSW 2522
Australia
+61242392211 (Phone)

Jenny (Jing) Wang

University of Wollongong - School of Accounting, Economics & Finance ( email )

Northfields Avenue
Wollongong, NSW 2522
Australia

Millicent Chang

University of Wollongong ( email )

Northfields Avenue
Wollongong, New South Wales 2522
Australia

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