ACU’s commitment to building a better and more just world for all

ACU Acting Provost Professor Zlatko Skrbis was pleased to attend the launch of the first Australian Catholic Anti-slavery Network (ACAN) Annual Report at a recent event hosted by the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev. Anthony Fisher OP.

ACAN, which was formed in December 2019, brings together 32 Catholic entities including dioceses, schools and universities, and organisations across the finance and investment, health, aged care and welfare sectors, including ACU. It is coordinated by the Anti-Slavery Taskforce of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

The launch of the ACAN Annual Report coincided with the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, held on 30 July, with the goal of highlighting the greater scrutiny Catholic organisations are playing in supply chain decisions to help protect the rights of vulnerable workers and combat modern slavery. 

Professor Skrbis said, “It was a privilege to join the esteemed company at the launch of the Australian Catholic Anti-slavery Network (ACAN) inaugural Annual Report. At ACU, we will ensure that we amplify the important work of ACAN and will support the anti-slavery agenda into the future.

“As a Catholic University, ACU is not only committed to the pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence, but guided and informed by Catholic Social Teaching, we recognise the dignity of each person and look for ways to work for the common good.

“This is why it is important that ACU, with many other Catholic organisations, is participating in the modern slavery risk management program through the Australian Anti-slavery Network.”

As a member of the program, it is fitting that on the 200th anniversary of Catholic Education in Australia, ACU is set to open the doors of its newest campus: the Saint Josephine Bakhita Campus in Blacktown. ACU’s new campus is dedicated to St Josephine Bakhita who was kidnapped at the age of nine and sold into slavery.

St Bakhita is the patron saint of victims of modern slavery and human trafficking. Her example and inspiration serve as an important reminder that slavery is not something of the past, but a tragic reality of modern society.

ACAN has been helping its members prepare their first Modern Slavery Statements, due next year, as a requirement under federal legislation. Under the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act, entities with a consolidated annual revenue of more than $100 million must provide a Modern Slavery Statement on what risks of modern slavery have been identified, the steps they are taking to ensure their supply chains are slavery-free, and how effective those measures are.

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