Govt implements temporary Covid-19 measures

A message from MBIE

The Government has decided to implement a range of temporary measures across Commerce and Consumer Affairs legislation that respond to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the re-emergence of COVID-19 in the community. These include delays to the commencement of some new regulatory obligations and flexibility to make it easier for businesses and other entities to operate safely during heightened alert levels. These changes affect forthcoming credit reforms, food country of origin disclosure requirements, and include reapplying temporary relief from 2020 in respect of corporate governance legislation and contract and commercial law.

Of significance to lenders and borrowers the Government agreed to:

1.

Delay the full commencement of the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (the Amendment Act) by two months, to 1 December 2021. This was necessary due to the impact of recent COVID-19 alert levels on lenders’ implementation of the reforms, which has disrupted training and other preparations and forced a reprioritisation of resources to support existing customers. This delay will include the regulations that were due to come into force on 1 October 2021, such as the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance (Lender Inquiries into Suitability and Affordability) Amendment Regulations 2020.

2.

Subject to Parliament passing the necessary legislation, temporarily reactivate amendments made to the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 in 2020 to facilitate the electronic execution of security documents containing powers of attorney. It is currently anticipated that this modification will last for an initial period of 6 months from the date of Royal Assent. Relevantly, unlike the modification made in 2020, the Government does not currently intend to make this modification retrospective.

You may also be interested to hear that the Government has similarly, subject to Parliament passing the necessary legislation, agreed to reinstate the compliance relief contained in the COVID-19 Response (Requirements For Entities—Modifications and Exemptions) Act 2020. This will enable organisations:

a) to do certain matters – including holding meetings, signing instruments, and voting on certain matters – electronically even if their constitutions or rules do not provide for it; and

b) to more easily modify certain requirements or restrictions in their constitution or rules (for example, defer reporting, or waive members’ fees).