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The Legal Report

Since Covid-19 hit our shores, it seems as if there have been new announcements and laws announced daily by both state and federal governments. In what appears to be a minefield of legislation, we’re happy to help you navigate safely through with our snapshot of some of the new laws and regulations recently enacted in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure you check out the links for additional information.

1. Introduction of the Code of Conduct for Commercial Leasing

The Government has introduced a ‘Mandatory Commercial Tenancy Code’ which is a Code of Conduct based upon ‘good faith’ principles. The purpose of the Code is to enable landlords and tenants to share the cash-flow burden during the current conditions. It is aimed at keeping premises tenanted so that businesses can get back up and running once the lock-down measures cease. If this may affect you, read more here.

2. Jobkeeper Scheme and changes to the Fair Work Act

The Government has implemented this new scheme to assist businesses to retain employees during the pandemic. For more information on the scheme, and how to apply, read more here. The Fair Work Act has also been amended to grant eligible employers with the ability to issue directives to employees in certain circumstances, including in relation to temporary stand-downs and reducing employee’s hours of work. Read more here.

3. The importance of protecting your business’s personal property

Many business owners are facing unprecedented financial strain in the current economic climate. One possible protection to consider is whether the business should protect its interests by registering any personal property interests on the PPSR. If you think this may be relevant for you, read more here.

4. Changes to the Electronic Transactions Act

Video conferencing technology like Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime and Zoom can currently be utilised to witness a number of documents, including Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Appointments of Enduring Guardianship. Read more here.

5. Temporary changes to the Conveyancing Rules to allow electronic signatures

Changes to the Conveyancing Rules temporarily allow paper land dealings, plans and Section 88B instruments to be signed electronically. These documents may also be witnessed electronically using an audiovisual link during the COVID-19 restriction. Jenkins Legal Services can seamlessly guide you through your conveyance during COVID. If you would like more information, contact us.

6. Temporary changes to Australia’s foreign investment framework

There have been changes to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) (the Act) in order to reduce the possibility of Australian corporations being sold to foreign investors which may pose a risk to Australia’s economic climate. If this may affect you, read more here.

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