Towards the eradication of modern slavery

The Catholic community in Melbourne is made up of a rich tapestry of people, of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. United by our faith and love for God and neighbour, we strive to live our lives according to the way of Jesus Christ in our homes, our workplaces and throughout the wider community.

One of our key priorities is to support the poor, the broken, the abused, the marginalised and those living with disability. This informs and animates our actions to eradicate modern slavery. The eradication of modern slavery in the Archdiocese’s operations and supply chain is an extension of our mission identity and Catholic Social Teaching which emphasise respect for the human dignity of the person.

Modern Slavery Statement 2020

Prior to the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act (2018) coming into force on 1 January 2019, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne established a joint Modern Slavery working group with the Archdiocese of Hobart. In 2019, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne joined the Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network (ACAN) and obtained access to guidance materials, processes, and expert advisory.

Given the breadth and size of Archdiocesan organisations, it made sense for some of the larger ones – the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, Villa Maria Catholic Homes and Melbourne Archdiocesan Catholic Schools – to prepare their own modern slavery statements.

During this reporting period (FY2020), piloted awareness raising and training on various issues related to Modern Slavery was conducted, including Model Supplier Code of Conduct, Model Roles and Responsibilities, Supplier Engagement Strategy, Spend Category Risk Taxonomy and Program Implementation. Workshops were attended in person prior to COVID-19.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne also piloted the “Modern Slavery 101” and the “Slavery and Business” online e-Learning modules, in preparation for a wider roll out. We conducted GAP analysis and a preliminary spend risk review to understand our shortcomings and where to focus our priorities.