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Changes to Norfolk Island bankruptcy and companies arrangements

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As part of the ongoing response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Australian Government is extending support to local businesses and individuals financially affected by the pandemic.

The temporary changes to debt arrangements, which commenced on 21 July 2020, allowed more flexibility and time to manage debt, easing the impact of COVID-19 on Norfolk Island businesses.

Consistent with equivalent measures nationally, the Government has extended a modified range of measures from 1 January 2021.

The minimum amount of debt that can trigger bankruptcy is now $10,000 (instead of $2,000) and the statutory minimum for a creditor to issue a demand to a debtor company has been increased to $2,000 (from $1,000).

From 1 January 2021, the statutory period for compliance with a bankruptcy notice or a statutory demand to a company is back to 21 days.

The provisions for online or virtual meetings and electronic document execution will no longer expire in March 2021. This will mean that Norfolk Island companies can continue to hold meetings virtually, send meeting-related materials electronically and validly execute documents electronically.

The Rules dealing with these measures can be found on the Federal Register of Legislation at: www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2020L01708. An explanatory statement is also available at that link.

Following the commencement of the Territories Legislation Amendment Act 2020, Commonwealth corporations and bankruptcy law will extend to Norfolk Island from 2 August 2021, bringing these arrangements into line with the rest of Australia and removing the need for separate measures. Further information on transition arrangements will be available in the near future.

Eric Hutchinson
Administrator of Norfolk Island
7 January 2021