Have any questions? Feel free to contact us:
(07) 3088 7511

Understanding the Covid-19 Act

Late on 22 April 2020, the Queensland Parliament passed the Covid-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020 (the Covid-19 Act).

The purpose of the Covid-19 Act is:-

  1. To protect the health, safety and welfare of Queenslanders affected by the Covid-19 emergency;
  2. To facilitate the continuance of public administration, the judicial process, small business and other activities that have been disrupted by Covid-19, including reducing regulatory requirements;
  3. To establish an office of the Small Business Commissioner;
  4. To provide for matters related to residential, retail and prescribed leases that have been impacted by the Covid-19 emergency; and
  5. To support renters during the Covid-19 emergency period.

The Covid-19 Act allows the various Ministers to make extraordinary regulations that overrides other Acts only if that Minister is satisfied the regulation is necessary for the purposes set out in the Covid-19 Act.  These are known as Henry VIII style clauses.  Interestingly the Queensland Legislation Handbook states that Henry VIII style clauses should not be used.  The Covid-19 emergency is considered so significant an impact on Queensland that such clauses are now being permitted in legislation in Queensland.

What this legislation does is allows the government to pass regulations without bringing them before the parliament and have them debated, in the ordinary course of parliament, and irrespective of whether the regulations are inconsistent with existing legislation.

At the time of writing this:-

  1. the only regulation to be passed under the Covid-19 Act is the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (Covid-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020.  This regulation temporarily overrides the existing legislation and provides for a protection of tenants who suffer a loss of income over the threshold, a moratorium on evictions and an ability for tenants to extend the term of their lease.
  2. We are still waiting on a draft regulation regarding retail and commercial tenancies and any rent relief package or moratorium period that the legislation might contain.