Australian construction and property industries tackle modern slavery
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Australian construction and property industries tackle modern slavery

On the international day of remembrance of victims of slavery, new research reveals the lengths Australian property and construction businesses are going to to end the scourge

By KANEBRIDGE NEWS
Mon, Mar 25, 2024 11:44amGrey Clock 3 min

Concerns about modern slavery usually focus on the garment and technology sectors but new research in Australia has focused on ways of identifying and dealing with the scourge in construction supply chains.

The Property Sector’s Modern Slavery Act Response Research Project is a joint project between Bond University, Better Sydney and Informed 365, an Australian tech company focused on monitoring compliance and supply chain transparency under the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018. 

The Act mandates annual reporting for companies with revenues of more than $100 million. The Global Slavery Index 2022 estimates that modern slavery accounts for nearly 50 million worldwide. Since the Act was introduced, company boards have been held responsible for public statements made by their companies on their abilities to assess and manage the risk of modern slavery in supply chains. The construction industry is considered to be particularly vulnerable thanks to the lack of visibility over long and complex supply chains, as well as the high demand for a low-skill labour force.

The research project, released to coincide with the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery, was tasked with examining the Australian industry’s ability to cope with assessing and managing reports of slavery in the supply chain. It follows on from the launch of the Property Council Supplier Platform in 2019 by the Property Council of Australia and Informed 365 to provide a digital platform for the local property and construction sector to collect, compare and understand supply chain data on human rights and modern slavery. 

Supply chain slavery issues are notoriously complex to identify but Property Council national policy director Francesca Muskovic said modern slavery in construction impacts millions of people in Australia and abroad and needed to be addressed at a national level.

“Our industry provides jobs for more than 1.4 million Australians – more than mining and manufacturing combined. This extensive influence places us in a unique position to address the social impacts of our activities and improve people’s lives,” Ms Muskovic said.

She said despite the challenges, the Australian construction and property industry sought to improve human rights outcomes both here and overseas.  

Property Council national policy director Francesca Muskovic

“Our supply chains are geographically diverse, multi-tiered and complex. Understanding the human rights and modern slavery risks within them is essential in helping the industry make their supply chains more ethical and sustainable,” Ms Muskovic said. 

“The property sector has forged a world-leading position on environmental sustainability, and it is pleasing to see leaders continue to step up their efforts on social sustainability.”

The research revealed that while 88 percent of suppliers to Australia’s leading construction and property firms understand what modern slavery is and 44 percent reported they had processes in place if a human rights incident or modern slavery was identified, smaller firms were less prepared.

“Many smaller firms were not aware of supply chain issues due to a lack of engagement, resources or audits, so there were mixed results in terms of supply chain mapping and risk assessment,” said Robin Mellon, CEO of Better Sydney, Board member for the UN Global Compact Network Australia, and Project Manager for the Property Council’s Human Rights and Modern Slavery Working Group.

CEO of Better Sydney Robin Mellon

“The report found 56 percent of suppliers who assessed their supply chains beyond their own immediate suppliers found some human rights issues or concerns, showing how important it is to investigate all levels of supply chains.”

Designed to better understand the challenges, strengths and opportunities for the property sector to improve its response to slavery, the research is part of Australia’s ongoing contribution to eradicating it worldwide. 

Mr Mellon said access to resource materials are key to helping property and construction businesses stay informed.

“There are now excellent learning materials available through the Property Council, the UN Global Compact Network Australia, and anti-slavery organisations to help engage, educate and support suppliers towards continuous improvement,” he said.



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Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have officially put their massive Los Angeles mansion on the market for $68 million.

The lavish Beverly Hills property hit listing sites on Thursday, months after rumours began that the couple, who are reportedly estranged , were shopping the home around only a year after buying it for nearly $61 million.

The roughly 5-acre property—which is in a gated community and spans a massive 38,000 square feet—includes an indoor sports court with an adjacent gym and games room, according to the listing with Santiago Arana of the Agency. The firm declined to comment.

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Built in 2000, the house has 12 bedrooms and a whopping 24 bathrooms. The resort-sized property has the amenities to match, including a V-shaped pool with views over the surrounding hills, a detached two-bedroom guardhouse and a 5,000-square-foot guest penthouse, according to the listing.

Listing images of the house show that Lopez and Affleck have spent the past year warming up what were fairly white-washed interiors when they purchased the home. There’s now a rich, green-painted dining room, hardwood floors and carpeted over cold, polished-stone flooring.

The couple, who got married in 2022 after reuniting some 20 years after they called off their engagement in the early 2000s, purchased the megamansion following a house hunt that went on for several months, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

Representatives for Lopez, 54, and Affleck, 51, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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