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Law Council of Australia


Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017

The Bill is intended to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Fair Work Act) to provide increased powers to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) to uncover labour exploitation, as well as increased penalties for persons that deliberately and systematically exploit vulnerable workers. The Law Council welcomes the introduction of the Bill as an important step towards eliminating labour exploitation in Australia and commends the additional resources to be provided to the FWO to discharge its proposed new functions.

The Law Council also notes the implications the Bill will have in strengthening Australia's modern slavery framework (currently the subject of a separate inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade). Modern slavery includes human trafficking, as well as slavery and slavery-like practices, such as forced labour, servitude and debt bondage, and there is often overlap between human trafficking and labour exploitation.

You can read the full submission below.


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