Policy report

Building better business for children

An interim national baseline assessment of Australian policy and law shaping business activities that impact on children
Children's rights Human rights Corporate social responsibility Families Parenting and guardianship Parental leave Cyber safety

Focused on the ‘State Duty to Protect’ and ‘Access to Remedy’ as outlined in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Building Better Business for Children provides an initial ‘national baseline assessment’ from a child rights perspective. It provides a first examination of Australia’s approach to regulating activities and operations known to pose a risk to children in Australia and abroad – either directly or indirectly. Areas examined include Australia’s approach to marketing and advertising, workplace protections, the regulation of child labour, and family-friendly employment conditions.

The report recommends that the Australian Government adopt a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP), with specific, measurable and time-bound measures to better protect children and their carers. These should include, for example, to strengthen and support business practices around child safeguarding, ratify the child labour convention (ILO 138), expand family-friendly policies (including a strategy to progressively increase the parental leave pay entitlement to at least 26 weeks), reduce children’s exposure to marketing and advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages and ensure access to remedy for children harmed by business activities and operations – both domestically and extraterritorially.

The report also recognises positive measures adopted by the Australian Government to better protect children from potentially harmful business practices, including the world's first law to mandate the plain (or ‘standardised’) packaging of tobacco products, mandatory reporting requirements to increase corporate transparency regarding ‘modern slavery’ risks, and the establishment of the eSafety Commissioner.

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