COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures – Miscellaneous) Bill 2020

COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures – Miscellaneous) Bill 2020

Yesterday, the COVID-19 Amendment Bill was passed by both houses of parliament in NSW.

The special sitting of NSW Parliament considered a second set of laws to equip citizens, businesses, and the justice system to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorney General Mark Speakman introduced three Bills yesterday which build on legislation enacted in late March (2020), and again makes the health and safety of the people of NSW a priority.

The Bills include proposals for extraordinary regulation-making powers to enhance social distancing by:

  • The modification or suspension of laws requiring people to hold meetings in person, for example a board meeting or physical examination by a medical practitioner for a particular purpose.
  • The facilitation of wholly electronic signing of documents (the Government continues to consult on what classes of documents will be affected); and
  • The extension of limitation periods to consider delays caused by the pandemic.

The Miscellaneous Bill is cognate with the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures Attorney General) Bill 2020.

The purpose of the Bill was to provide regulation-making power during this COVID-19 period to a Minister to over-ride a section of an Act that are difficult to meet under the current restrictions on movement and gatherings.

Its long title is: An Act to amend certain legislation to implement further emergency measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SCA (NSW) would like to use this opportunity to disseminate pertinent information from the Bill as it relates to:

  • Community Land Management Act
  • Strata Schemes Management Act

Changes to the Community Land Management Act:

Section 122A

Regulation-making power for COVID-19 pandemic:

(1) The regulations under this Act may provide for the following matters for the

purposes of responding to the public health emergency caused by the

COVID-19 pandemic—

(a) altered arrangements for convening an association meeting, including

arrangements for the issue or service of notices and other documents in

relation to the meeting,

(b) altered arrangements for the way voting may be conducted at an

association meeting, including—

(i) the circumstances in which the altered arrangements for voting

may apply, and

(ii) conditions that apply to the way the vote is exercised,

(c) an alternative to affixing the seal of the association, including any

requirements for witnessing or attesting to the alternative way,

(d) extension of a time period in which a thing is required to be done under

the Act.

(2) However, a regulation made under subsection (1)(d) must not result in the total

time period within the thing is required to be done to be extended to be

a time period of more than 6 months.

(3) Regulations made under this section—

(a) are not limited by the regulation-making power in this Act, and

(b) may override a provision of this Act.

(4) Regulations made under this section expire on—

(a) the day that is 6 months after its commencement, or

(b) the earlier day decided by Parliament by resolution of either House of

Parliament.

(5) This section is repealed on—

(a) 13 November 2020, or

(b) a later day, not later than 13 May 2021, prescribed by the regulations.

(6) In this section—

association meeting means—

(a) a first annual general meeting of the association, or

(b) an annual general meeting of the association, other than the first annual

general meeting, or

(c) a special general meeting of the association, or

(d) a meeting of the executive committee of an association.

special general meeting, in relation to an association, means a meeting that is not the first annual general meeting of the association or an annual general

meeting of the association

 

Changes to the Strata Schemes Management Act

Section 271A

Regulation-making power for COVID-19 pandemic:

(1) The regulations under this Act may provide for the following matters for the

purposes of responding to the public health emergency caused by the

COVID-19 pandemic—

(a) altered arrangements for convening a relevant strata meeting, including

arrangements for the issue or service of notices and other documents in

relation to the meeting,

(b) altered arrangements for the means of voting at a relevant strata

meeting, including—

(i) the circumstances in which the altered arrangements for voting

may apply, and

(ii) conditions that apply to the way the vote is exercised,

(c) an alternative to affixing the seal of the owners corporation, including

any requirements for witnessing or attesting to the alternative way,

(d) extension of a time period in which a thing is required to be done under

the Act.

(2) However, a regulation made under subsection (1)(d) must not result in the total

time period within which the thing is required to be done to be extended to be

a time period of more than 6 months.

(3) Regulations made under this section—

(a) are not limited by the regulation-making power in this Act, and

(b) may override a provision of this Act.

(4) Regulations made under this section expire on—

(a) the day that is 6 months after the day on which the regulation

commences, or

(b) the earlier day decided by Parliament by resolution of either House of

Parliament.

(5) This section is repealed on—

(a) 13 November 2020, or

(b) a later day, not later than 13 May 2021, prescribed by the regulations.

(6) In this section—

relevant strata meeting means—

(a) an annual general meeting or other general meetings of an owners

corporation for a strata scheme, or

(b) a meeting of the strata committee of an owners corporation.

 

Both additions reflect the changes as per the consultation draft SCA (NSW) reviewed. However, we note that the changes do not have retrospective effect i.e., to when the restrictions on gatherings and movement was first put into place.

Also noteworthy in this Bill are changes to the:

  • Interpretations Act – see pages 20-23; and,
  • Residential Tenancy Act/Legislation – see pages 31-35

If you would like to read more about the act, and review changes relevant to our industry in more detail, the full paper is found here.