Temporary reforms to support ACT COVID-19 public health emergency

In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, the ACT Legislative Assembly has passed new temporary measures to protect and support the ACT community.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020 temporarily amends 20 pieces of legislation that have been identified as crucial and urgent to support the ACT’s operational response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All of these amendments will have a sunset clause meaning that they will phase out once our community and our economy has recovered from this crisis.

These amendments will be implemented immediately to support the ACT Government in its response and to support Canberrans during the public health emergency.

These changes include additional support for our community clubs and creates a head of power in the Residential Tenancies Act, which will give us the ability to quickly implement the short term, temporary moratorium on eviction for the non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 which all state and territories are implementing.

It will also increase the capacity for the Treasurer to spend money swiftly to support sectors of our economy and community as they come under pressure.

One of the operational changes that will be made as a result of this Bill is to allow ACT courts to change the way evidence may be presented in court and to allow Judges to decide how trials may be held. This will allow ACT courts to adhere to social distancing requirements in their operations.

Additional legislation amendments will be introduced over the next few months as Australian Governments respond to this public health emergency.

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