Artboard 1Icons/Ionic/Social/social-pinterest

NSW Government Bulletin

10 June 2020

#Government, #COVID-19

Scott Alden

Published by Scott Alden, Victoria Gordon

NSW Government Bulletin

Commonwealth Government releases scoping paper – a look into Government modern slavery reporting and actions to address key modern slavery risks

The Commonwealth Government has recently released a scoping paper setting out its approach to preparing its first modern slavery statement, which provides a “best practice” example for other reporting entities.  

Snapshot

The Commonwealth Government is required to submit a modern slavery statement under the landmark Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (Act) along with corporate Commonwealth entities and companies with a consolidated annual revenue of $100 million or more.

The Commonwealth Government’s first statement will cover the 2019-20 Australian financial year and must be published by 31 December 2020.  Other reporting entities have been given a three-month extension due to COVID-19 (see our previous update here).

The scoping paper outlines the content of the Commonwealth Government’s first statement and explains the actions the Commonwealth is taking to address key modern slavery risks in its supply chains.

What Government entities are covered by the statement?

The Commonwealth Government is preparing a single statement covering all non‑corporate Commonwealth entities, which is being prepared by the Australian Border Force who is responsible for implementing the Act and leading the Government’s response to modern slavery.

Corporate Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies with a consolidated annual revenue of $100 million or more must prepare separate modern slavery statements.

A list of non‑corporate Commonwealth entities, corporate Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies is available at the Department of Finance website here.

Content of the Commonwealth’s statement

The scoping paper states that the Commonwealth’s statement will address key areas of modern slavery risk across the full range of Commonwealth Government procurement and investments – irrespective of the spend or length of the procurement or investment activity, which is a significant undertaking.

The statement will address the seven mandatory criteria under the Act at a whole-of-government level.

In relation to the risks of modern slavery practices in its operations and supply chains (mandatory criteria 3), the Commonwealth is taking a targeted, risk-based approach to assessing and addressing modern slavery risks in its supply chains, focusing on priority risk areas including textiles procurement, construction, cleaning services and investment activity.

The actions taken by the Commonwealth to assess and address modern slavery risks (mandatory criteria 4) are stated to include the development of training materials for Commonwealth officers, policy commitments and contract clauses, supplier engagement activities, and procedures to respond to, and remediate, allegations of modern slavery.

The Commonwealth recognises a “continuous improvement approach” to assessing the effectiveness of actions to assess and address modern slavery risks (mandatory criteria 5), with its first statement providing a “strong foundation for future action” which will be measured by a range of qualitative and quantitative indicators over time.

The Commonwealth Statement will also outline how COVID-19 has impacted the Government’s supply chains and response to modern slavery, in line with the Government’s recently released guidance on how to address the impacts of COVID-19 in their modern slavery statements (see our update here).

Best practice for NSW Government

Whilst the approach to Government reporting is slightly different under the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (NSW) (NSW Act), the Commonwealth’s scoping paper will provide useful guidance to the NSW Government on how to approach modern slavery reporting once the fate of the NSW Act is decided. 

We are currently waiting on the NSW Government’s response to the parliamentary report on the NSW Act published on 25 March 2020 (Report), which we outlined here. The NSW Government is required to respond to the Report by 25 September 2020 and determine whether the NSW Act will commence with amendments on or before 1 January 2021, as recommended by the Report.

The scoping paper can be accessed here.

Authors: Scott Alden & Victoria Gordon

In the media

High Court dismisses Dismissal letters

Written correspondence between the Australian Governor-General and Her majesty the Queen relating to the dismissal of the Australian Government in 1975, have been judged by the High Court to be Commonwealth records under the Archives Act 1983 (04 June 2020)

https://psnews.com.au/2020/06/04/high-court-dismisses-dismissal-letters/?state=aps

'Act proven' to replace 'not guilty' in forensic mental health reforms

The NSW Government has listened to victims and their families and is today introducing reforms to change the ‘special verdict’ for the defence of mental illness. “NSW will be the first state or territory in the country to empower its courts to hand down a finding of ‘act proven but not criminally responsible’.” (03 June 2020)

https://www.dcj.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/media-releases/act-proven-to-replace-not-guilty-in-forensic-mental-health-reforms

Landmark child abuse reforms pass Parliament

A significant barrier preventing child sex offenders from being held to account will be removed under nation leading reforms passed by the NSW Parliament today (03 June 2020)

https://www.dcj.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/media-releases/landmark-child-abuse-reforms-pass-parliament

Protecting young people from sexual exploitation

New laws protecting vulnerable young people from being exploited by adults who hold positions of authority over them are set to be introduced to NSW Parliament (03 June 2020)

https://www.dcj.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/media-releases/protecting-young-people-from-sexual-exploitation

Statement on High Court ruling of unlawful use of force in Don Dale, by Law Council President

The High Court’s decision that the deliberate and intentional deployment of tear gas on four teenagers by prison officers in Darwin’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre was unlawful, is a timely reminder that the use of force on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will not be tolerated in Australia.(03 June 2020)

https://www.lawcouncil.asn.au/media/media-releases/statement-on-high-court-ruling-of-unlawful-use-of-force-in-don-dale

Human rights - not corporate interests - must inform the Government’s plan to eradicate modern slavery

A coalition of civil society organisations, unions and academics has called on the Department of Home Affairs to include union and human rights experts in the newly established Modern Slavery Expert Advisory Group to ensure workers’ rights and not just the interests of business are at the centre of the Government’s plan to eradicate modern slavery (02 June 2020) Human rights - not corporate interests - must inform the Government’s plan to eradicate modern slavery

Australian Government a world leader in eradicating modern slavery

The Australian Government has released a scoping paper on the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Statement.

The Commonwealth Modern Slavery Statement will report on modern slavery risks in the Government's procurement and investment activities and explain the steps taken to identify and respond to these risks (01 June 2020) https://minister.homeaffairs.gov.au/jasonwood/Pages/australian-government-world-leader-eradicating-modern-slavery.aspx

Public sector wage freeze will ‘cost jobs, hurt regions’

The NSW government’s public sector wage freeze could indirectly cost 1,100 jobs across the state, according to an economic analysis by a public policy think tank. The move would see non-executive frontline staff including nurses, police, paramedics and teachers get a one-off payment of $1,000 (01 June 2020)

https://www.governmentnews.com.au/public-sector-wage-freeze-will-cost-jobs-hurt-regions/

Councils sidelined as COAG abolished

Local government is concerned its voice on national decisions will be diminished after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said COAG will be abolished and replaced with the national cabinet (29 May 2020)

https://www.governmentnews.com.au/councils-fear-being-sidelined-as-coag-abolished/

Practice and courts

BOSCAR Publications

NSW Recorded Crime Statistics quarterly update March 2020  - 03 June 2020

NSW IPC: NSW Information Commissioner publishes new guidance in recognition of National Reconciliation Week 2020

The NSW Information Commissioner published a guidance to assist people who were subject to out of home care arrangements to access important records about them and their care arrangements.. The checklist is directed to removing barriers to access to information and promoting successful outcomes in accessing this important information. View the checklist here. ( 03 June 2020)

Court of Appeal’s Decisions of Interest bulletin
The Decisions of Interest bulletin is a regular publication produced by the Court of Appeal, summarising appellate decisions from Australia and internationally. Read the latest bulletin here.

See also  NSWCA Decisions before the High Court as at 29 May 2020

Resumption of defended hearings in the Local Court of NSW – information for solicitors
The Law Society is working with the NSW Local Court to assist the profession return to work in defended matters as soon as possible. It is in the interests of the Court and solicitors for this to occur. Solicitors should familiarise themselves with the Chief Magistrate’s Memoranda 9, 10 and 11 in this regard. Read more.

NSW Land Registry Services (NSW LRS) fees for 2020/2021
The NSW LRS fees for products and services involving land titles, plans, property information and the Water Access Licence Register will change for the 2020/2021 financial year. See NSW LRS Announcement and the 2020/2021 NSW LRS Fee Update.  Note that the 2019/2020 fees will be applied to land title dealings and plans lodged before 1 July 2020 but not finalised until after 1 July 2020.

Cases

DPD v Far West Local Health District [2020] NSWCATAD 141

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - Privacy – Personal Information – Use of personal information – Accuracy of personal information – whether reasonable steps taken to check accuracy – disclosure of personal information

DPD v Far West Local Health District [2020] NSWCATAD 141

WaterNSW v Hurrell [2020] NSWCATAD 140

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – administrative review – Inquiry into desirability of grant of surface water licence – consideration of factors to be taken into account – whether respondents interests may be affected – replacement licence – minimal impact WaterNSW v Hurrell [2020] NSWCATAD 140

WaterNSW v Goldfinch [2020] NSWCATAD 139

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – administrative review – Inquiry into desirability of grant of surface water licence – consideration of factors to be taken into account – whether respondents interests may be affected – transfer of existing entitlement – minimal impact

WaterNSW v Goldfinch [2020] NSWCATAD 139

Danis v Commissioner of Police, NSW Police Force [2020] NSWCATAD 138

ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – Government Information (Public Access) – whether to exercise discretion to refuse to deal – whether functions exercised under the GIPA Act in good faith – public interest considerations against disclosure – whether information was given in confidence – whether prejudice to the supply of confidential information –personal information – whether information disclosed in family law proceedings has been revealed – whether disclosure exposes a child to a risk of harm or of serious harassment or serious intimidation – best interests of the child – public interest considerations in favour of disclosure – public interest in transparency and accountability – whether disclosure of DVD could reveal or substantiate allegations of police misconduct or unlawful conduct – personal factors of the application – weight of evidence – balancing of public interests – overriding public interest against disclosure

Danis v Commissioner of Police, NSW Police Force [2020] NSWCATAD 138

Legislation

Regulations

Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Amendment No 7) Rule 2020 (2020-250) — published LW 5 June 2020

Crimes (Interstate Transfer of Community Based Sentences) Regulation 2020 (2020-239) — published LW 5 June 2020

Legal Profession Uniform Law (Indexed Amounts) Notice 2020 (2020-242) — published LW 5 June 2020

Bills introduced Government – 03 June 2020

Crimes Amendment (Special Care Offences) Bill 2020

Awaiting 2R Debate, Debate adjourned 5 clear days, 03 June 2020

To strengthen NSW’s ‘special care’ offences which hold to account adults in positions of authority who engage in sexual activity with 16 or 17 year olds under their care.

Law Enforcement Conduct Commission Amendment Bill 2020

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament – 03 June 2020

Evidence Amendment (Tendency and Coincidence) Bill 2020

Passed in Parliament , waiting assent, 03 June 2020

Will enable more evidence about an accused person’s sexual interest in children to be considered by the jury in child sexual assault proceedings. The reforms will commence on 1 July 2020.

Disclaimer
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

Scott Alden

Published by Scott Alden, Victoria Gordon

Share this