The Australian government remains committed to eradicating slavery but there is still no time frame for adopting a Modern Slavery Act.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said a key outcome of the Bali Process in Perth on Friday was that business leaders had committed to a work plan, and the meeting had also helped the commonwealth become better informed for a Modern Slavery Act.
“The time frame is as soon as possible, but given that we will have to undertake further consultation I won’t put a specific date on it,” she told reporters.
“However, the work that has been undertaken in preparation for this meeting and the discussions we have had at this meeting will inform our deliberations. This is invaluable work.”
The federal government has instigated two parliamentary inquiries into adopting a Modern Slavery Act, which will be similar to laws introduced in the UK in 2015, but the committees are yet to provide their final reports.
Ms Bishop described the Bali Process as a world-first regional meeting, bringing government ministers and business leaders together to discuss practical ways to combat slavery.
“It is an intolerable fact that slavery exists in the 21st century through bonded labour, through labour market exploitation (and) through slavery-like conditions,” she said.
“Human trafficking and modern slavery have no place in our world today and global leaders have committed to eradicating slavery.”
Ms Bishop said the forum had ministers from 45 countries and representatives from three United Nations agencies, who made powerful statements about their commitment to end slavery.
She said business leaders had committed to protecting the rights of migrant workers and ensuring transparency in global business supply chains.