State Parliament last week moved to extend the timeframe for several measures introduced to allow Government to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 through the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021.

Among other changes, this includes extending the timeframe for the expiry of the dispute resolution provisions within the Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation, from 30 April to 30 September, 2021. This timeframe had previously been extended from its initial expiry of December 2020.

As part of these extended COVID-19 measures, new laws were also introduced in State Parliament that will allow Local Governments to change their rates and charges multiple times in a year. These powers will be granted amongst a range of other COVID-19 measures introduced with the intent of allowing flexibility to decrease or increase rates and charges, depending on a council’s need. Councils will be required to amend and formalise their budgets if they make changes, although no limits apply to the frequency.

The Bill has been referred to the Economics and Governance Committee for its consideration, with public submissions due today.