Last week amendments to Australia’s insolvency regime passed through Parliament, giving effect to the framework proposed by the Corporations Amendment (Corporate Insolvency Reforms) Bill 2020 (Cth). The Federal Government first announced the reforms as part of the 2020-21 Budget, touting that they would “strengthen our insolvency system to better support small businesses dealing with the economic impact of COVID-19.”

The legislation draws on key features of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy model in the United States to introduce a new, simplified debt restructuring process that can be accessed by incorporated businesses with liabilities of less than $1 million.

Inserting a new Part 5.3B into the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), the legislation introduces:

  1. a streamlined debt restructuring process for eligible small businesses;
  2. a simplified liquidation pathway; and
  3. additional measures to support the insolvency sector to respond to the reforms.

The framework will be available for eligible small businesses from 1 January 2021.

A copy of the Media Release issued on 10 December 2020 can be accessed here.