After working together over the last 12 months, Australia’s leading telecommunication organisations including Telstra, Optus, TPG Telecom (formerly Vodafone Australia), Vocus Group, Aussie Broadband and Amaysim came together to release a historic leadership statement. 

This statement outlined the proactive approach each organisation is taking to ensure that modern slavery is abolished and human rights throughout the industry are upheld. The term ‘modern slavery’ refers to any occurrence of debt bondage, deceptive recruiting for labour or services, forced labour, forced marriage, servitude, slavery, trafficking in persons and the worst forms of child labour.

Released on 02 December 2020, commemorating the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, Telco Together Foundation is proud to be a part of this amazing achievement. This statement is the beginning of an ongoing commitment to lead the Australian telco industry to work collaboratively and eliminate illegal modern slavery practices.

Endorsed by the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher stated how “the statement will send a strong message to the public that the elimination of modern slavery is a priority for the sector”.

Minister Fletcher went on to explain, “Telecommunication companies have an important role to play in the efforts to end slavery, given their extensive supply chains. The statement complements the governments work with businesses and civil society to address human trafficking, slavery and slavery like practices”. 

Signatories shared their own thoughts on why it was important to commit to a leadership statement on this issue.

“As a founding member of the Telco Together Foundation, Vocus is proud to be part of the industry’s collaborative stance against modern slavery. At Vocus we believe our people are the difference, and we want to ensure that applies to people working for organisations across our supply chains as well.” 

– Vocus Group CEO and Group Managing Director, Kevin Russell. 

 “There has never been a more important time for industry collaboration as companies, supply chains and customers grapple with modern slavery and its appalling, often hidden, impact on people. Aussie Broadband looks forward to seeing what we can achieve together, over and above what we can achieve independently.” 

– Aussie Broadband Managing Director, Phil Britt.

“Optus respects the human rights and freedoms of every individual and believes there is no place for modern slavery in our world.  It is critical to collaborate as an industry to explore areas to collectively make a positive impact to reduce any risk of modern slavery in our supply chains.”

 – Optus CEO, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin. 

“A proactive and united effort from Aussie telcos is required to make a real difference to put an end to practices of modern slavery that exist in supply chains globally. The responsibility to eliminate modern slavery resides with businesses and it is up to us to take action to end exploitative practices. It is our firm belief that there is no place for modern slavery in our operations or our supply chains and I am proud to work together with my peers to improve working conditions, both here in Australia and across our deep supply chains around the world.” 

– Amaysim CEO and Managing Director, Peter O’Connell. 

“It is very concerning to me that any form of modern slavery exists today, including hidden in some supply chains.  As individuals, companies, industries and communities, we need to be aware of this reality and actively work to stamp out those practices.  By working together as a sector, we can make the biggest possible positive impact.” 

– TPG Telecom CEO and Managing Director, Inaki Berroeta. 

“There is strength in numbers so we look forward to the Australian telco industry and the Telco Together Foundation achieving more by working together. This builds on Telstra’s Code of Conduct and Human Rights Policy, and our work with the Joint Audit Cooperation, which holds our company, supply chain and those working with us to a high standard to help stamp out this inhumane practice.”

– Telstra CEO, Andrew Penn.

Visit the Industry Impact Hub to find out more about the individual leadership principles that our founding members have committed to. Telco Together Foundation strongly believes that lasting change will begin with large organisations, like those mentioned above, who will influence others into creating a meaningful difference.