The Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act 2018 (the Act) came into force on 1 January 2019.

The Act established a national Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement which applies to large businesses and other entities in the Australian market with annual consolidated revenue of at least AUD$100 million.

Applicable entities must prepare annual Modern Slavery Statements setting out their actions to assess and address modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains.

Modern Slavery Statements for all reporting entities is made publicly available on the Australian Government’s online Modern Slavery Register.


What is Modern slavery?

The Australian Government describes Modern Slavery as situations where offenders use coercion, threats or deception to exploit victims and undermine their freedom. Practices that constitute modern slavery can include:

  • human trafficking
  • slavery
  • servitude
  • forced labour
  • debt bondage
  • forced marriage, and
  • the worst forms of child labour

Modern slavery is a term used to describe serious exploitation. It does not include practices like substandard working conditions or underpayment of workers. These practices are also harmful and may be present in some situations of modern slavery.

Modern slavery can occur in every industry and sector and has severe consequences for victims. Modern slavery also distorts global markets, undercuts responsible business and can pose significant legal and reputational risks to entities.

Our approach

As an essential service provider, Urban Utilities’ decisions and actions have the potential to significantly impact our people, customers, communities and shareholders.

We understand the importance of responsible procurement and ensuring that ethical, environmental and social considerations form part of our decision-making processes. In this regard, we are taking a proactive approach to identifying modern slavery and other labour rights risks across our operations and supply chain.

Urban Utilities is committed to improving our understanding and management of modern slavery risks and we expect that our approach to managing modern slavery and human rights risks will continue to evolve as we refine our practices and building our knowledge and capacity across our business.

Our statement

In accordance with the Act, Urban Utilities’ Modern Slavery Statement provides information on our structure, operations and supply chain, as well as the actions taken to identify and mitigate modern slavery within our operations and across our supplier chains. 

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Further information and resources

You can find more information about modern slavery generally, in Australia and internationally, from the following sources:

  • Department of Home Affairs website.
  • Global Slavery Index provides a country by country ranking of the number of people in modern slavery, as well as an analysis of the actions governments are taking to respond.  
  • The Freedom Partnership is a national movement to ensure Australians do not contribute to the global problem of slavery and that people are not enslaved in Australia.  

Urban Utilities has also prepared a Modern Slavery Factsheet which provides details on what modern slavery is, reporting requirements under the Act, the impact for Urban Utilities and what it means for our suppliers.