Insolvency reforms to support small business

Insolvency reforms to support small business


The government recognises that despite support to get through the COVID-19 outbreak, not all businesses are going to remain viable.

Many small businesses will have significantly increased levels of debt in order to remain in business during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government is introducing a number of permanent and temporary measures to expand the availability of insolvency practitioners to deal with this expected increase in the number of businesses seeking to restructure or liquidate.

The package of reforms features three key elements:

Debt Restructuring

Currently, requirements around voluntary administration in Australia are more suited to large, complex company insolvencies. The new debt restructuring process will adopt a ‘debtor possession model’ where the business can continue to trade under the control of its owners, while a debt restructuring plan is developed and voted on by creditors.

Liquidation Pathway

The costs of liquidation can consume all or almost all of the remaining value of a small business, leaving little for creditors. Under the government’s new process, regulatory obligations will be simplified, so that they are commensurate to the asset base, complexity and risk profile of an eligible small business.

Temporary Relief Measures Extended

The government announced a further extension of relief measures to 31 December 2020. The

temporary increase in the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company from $2,000 to $20,000; and a temporary increase in the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive from 21 days to 6 months. In addition there is a temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, with respect to any debts incurred in the ordinary course of the companies business.

The temporary gives businesses needed breathing space to and highlights the importance of working with financial professionals as soon as required, ensuring that your small business has the best chance of success.

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If you believe the matters discussed above are relevant to your business, please contact Darren Smith of our office to discuss further.


Darren is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience, including working in the big 4 and medium sized firms before becoming a partner of a city based firm in 2000.

He has gained much experience and has extensive knowledge in providing business and taxation advice, superannuation planning, negotiation of sales and acquisitions of businesses and property development. His client base covers a wide range of industry groups.

Darren works with business owners to grow their businesses and create personal wealth within and outside of their business.


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