The Fair Farms training and certification program will provide supply chain transparency to those businesses captured by the new Modern Slavery Act passed last week.

The passing of the bill marks Australia’s first federal Modern Slavery Act to become law, giving government the ability to send companies a please explain if they fail to report.

Growcom Chief Advocate Rachel Mackenzie praised the new legislation as a significant step towards stamping out worker exploitation in the fresh produce supply chain in tandem with the Fair Farms training and certification program.

“The introduction of the Modern Slavery Act will help mitigate non-compliance, making large organisations accountable for how workers are treated throughout the supply chain,” she said.

“It supports the work we’re doing to develop the Fair Farms training and certification program, which will give retailers the tools to cut non-compliant growers out of the supply chain and stop these growers undercutting those who do treat their workers properly.

“Essentially we want to reward the good growers who are doing the right thing by making it easier for them to get their fresh produce to the Australian public.

“Fundamentally these schemes only work if the retailers are absolutely committed to sourcing their produce from ethical suppliers and so far the Fair Farms certification program has received in-principle support from retailers.

“To become Fair Farms certified, a grower must undergo a third party audit. The program is unique in that it is the only scheme designed for Australian growers and benchmarked against Australian legislation.

“With support from major retailers, the pilot phase is currently underway, and we are working towards having the program operational by early 2019.

“We encourage growers to register their interest in the Fair Farms training and certification program via our website.”

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