10 August 2022Share
Australian Catholic University’s commitment to combatting modern slavery and slave labour abuses has been evaluated as one of the better performing universities according to a new report.
RMIT University’s Business and Human Rights Centre (BHRIGHT) evaluated 37 modern slavery statements submitted by Australian universities within the first round of required reporting as per the Commonwealth Government’s Modern Slavery Act 2018.
The universities were scored against 32 indicators which closely aligned with the seven mandatory reporting criteria in the Act.
ACU scored among the top 20 per cent of high performing universities, above the average of 31%.
The report strongly recommended that all Australian universities needed to engage with modern slavery more seriously.
ACU Chief Financial Officer Scott Jenkins said BHRIGHT’s evaluation of the public commitments of universities to eradicate modern slavery indicated more work needed to be done across the entire sector.
“While the BHRIGHT evaluation report clearly indicates that more work is needed to progress seriously on eradicating modern slavery from Australian universities, it is encouraging that ACU is among the higher performing universities,” Mr Jenkins said.
“ACU takes our commitment to ending modern slavery seriously and we will commit to addressing the recommendations in the report prepared by RMIT University.
“We acknowledge that all Australian universities need to strengthen their engagement to address modern slavery issues.”
ACU is a member of the Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network (ACAN) and the Australian University Procurement Network (AUPN) and has established a working group to further eradicate modern slavery in its operations and employment.
Modern slavery training modules are also available for ACU management and staff, and is also included as part of the core curriculum for all students.
ACU Vice-President Fr Anthony Casamento CSMA said the BHRIGHT report identified the next steps in the university’s commitment to ending modern slavery, which takes inspiration from the patron of the ACU Blacktown campus, St Josephite Bakhita, who is also the patron for victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.
“As a Catholic university, ACU is committed to working towards the eradication of modern slavery and human trafficking within our operations, business partnerships and supply chains,” Fr Casamento said.
“While the report is encouraging for ACU, we recognise that the university still has a long way to go into achieving Pope Francis's call for the eradication of modern slavery globally and including in our own university community.”
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