The Post March 2021 COVID Reality for Businesses

In March 2020, the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 (Cth) (Omnibus Act) came into force. The Omnibus Act introduced a suite of temporary measures designed to help the Australian economy meet the head winds of the COVID 19 pandemic. Many of the measures introduced through the Omnibus Act and the related regulations have now been withdrawn or curtailed. Notably: the temporary moratorium against insolvent trading claims under s 588GAAA of the Corporations Act has not been extended beyond 31 December 2020, although this continues to have limited application where a company is engaged in a restructuring under Part 5.3B of the Corporations Act; the time for compliance with statutory demands and bankruptcy notices issued on or after 1 January 2021 has reverted from 6 months to 21 days; the minimum debt for which a statutory demand (to companies) may be issued has reverted from $20,000 to $2,000; the minimum debt for which bankruptcy notices may be issued is now $10,000 down from the $20,000 threshold which operated between March 2020 and 1 January 2021. Whilst 31 January 2021 marks the date for the withdrawal or curtailment of many of the temporary measures and thus a partial return to a pre-COVID legislative/regulatory landscape, it is also the date on which the new small business restructuring and simplified liquidation regimes came into effect.

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