The recently re-elected Queensland Government has introduced a Bill to extend the operation of COVID emergency measures until 30 April 2021.
On 26 November 2020, Queensland’s new Attorney-General, Shannon Fentiman, introduced the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 into Queensland Parliament to provide urgent amendments to the legislative framework powering Queensland’s COVID emergency measures regulations.
Under the original COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020, passed in June this year, all emergency legal measures were to expire on 31 December 2020.
The new Bill permits many of the emergency measures regulations to be extended in their operation to 30 April 2021 or an earlier day set by regulation. The new Bill also contains a power for transitional regulations to be made to put in place ongoing transitional emergency measures that operate for up to two years after 30 April 2021.
The Government has decided not to extend the Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 beyond 31 December 2020.
Instead, the Bill contains measures to preserve lessees’ and lessors’ rights and obligations that accrue for the period up to 31 December 2020 and facilitate the conclusion of any lease disputes that might still be on foot, including by continuing the appointment of the inaugural Queensland Small Business Commissioner beyond the original 31 December 2020 end date.
The Bill was declared urgent and will be passed in next week’s Queensland parliamentary sitting.