Changes to bankruptcy law extended to 31 December 2020

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The Commonwealth Government has announced an extension to temporary debt relief measures, designed to support people facing bankruptcy due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Originally scheduled to end in late September, the measures introduced in March 2020 have now been extended to 31 December 2020.

The extended temporary debt relief measures include an increase to the:

  • minimum amount of debt that can trigger bankruptcy from $5,000 to $20,000
  • amount of time an individual has to respond to a Bankruptcy Notice from 21 days to six months
  • temporary debt protection period – people can apply for six months relief from creditors, an increase from 21 days.

The Inspector-General of Bankruptcy and Chief Executive of the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA), Hamish McCormick, encouraged people to promptly seek assistance if they were struggling to pay their debts.

“Unfortunately, the health and economic impacts of Coronavirus have continued, resulting in this new extension to relief measures for Australians in financial difficulty,” Mr McCormick said.

“If you do find yourself in financial trouble, please seek prompt assistance from a reputable advisor. You can access advice from a practitioner registered with AFSA, or free support through the National Debt Helpline.

 “While there are formal insolvency mechanisms in place to protect those who are struggling, I encourage people facing financial hardship to contact their creditors in the first instance and discuss their options.

“Many large creditors continue to have programs in place to support individuals and businesses.”

For further information about the temporary debt relief measures visit Coronavirus and changes to bankruptcy laws.