Your selected location:
  1. Home
  2. /
  3. HHG Articles
  4. /
  5. Corporate & Commercial Law
  6. /
  7. The impact of COVID-19 on Australian Busineses and the proposed Government stimulus measures
27 Mar 2020

HHG Legal Group’s Director Murray Thornhill and Lawyer, Nikolina Milosevic, explores the details of the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Bill 2020 and its potential impact on small businesses.

20200327 Stimulus IA

There is no doubt that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in unprecedented changes to economies around the world, Australia included. As we work towards protecting those who are vulnerable to the health issues caused by COVID-19 by implementing isolation and quarantine measures, the domino effect is that businesses across Australia will struggle to survive and individuals will struggle to make ends meet.

In an attempt to limit the damage to the Australian economy and financial welfare of Australians in these tough times, the Australian Parliament has initiated amendments to various laws through the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Bill 2020 (Bill).

Impact of Bill

The Bill received Royal Assent on 24 March 2020 and, in summary, makes the following changes that impact on Australia businesses:

  1. Accelerating the decline in value of certain business assets, the use of which commences between 12 March 2020 and 30 June 2021, for businesses with turnover of less than $500 million;
  2. Increasing the statutory minimum for issuing bankruptcy notices from $5,000 to $20,000 for all notices issued on or after 25 March 2020;
  3. Increasing the time limit within which a debtor must respond to a bankruptcy notice from 21 days to 6 months for all notices issued on or after 25 March 2020;
  4. Increasing the time limit within which a debtor must respond to a statutory demand issued pursuant to the Corporations Act 2001 from 21 days to 6 months for all demands issued on or after 25 March 2020;
  5. Increasing the statutory minimum for issuing a statutory demand pursuant to the Corporations Act 2001 from $2,000 to $20,000 for all demands issued on or after 25 March 2020; and
  6. A temporary (at this stage, six-month) suspension of provisions in the Corporations Act 2001 which cause Directors to be personally liable for insolvent trading. The amendments do not however address debts which are incurred outside of the company’s usual operations.

The Bill also provides a number of other amendments to current legislation, including government payments to households to support Australian families, early release of superannuation, and changes to qualification requirements for certain social service government allowances.

How does this impact me and my business?

Whilst the government considers the enactment of the changes contained in the Bill are absolutely necessary to reduce the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the Australian economy, businesses and families, there will be a flow-on effect from many of the proposed changes that will negatively impact some businesses and individuals.

Creditors looking to issue statutory demands (pursuant to the Corporations Act 2001) or bankruptcy notices (pursuant to the Bankruptcy Act 1966)  (Creditors), will now have to carry those debts for a period of up to 6 months or engage in other recovery methods which may be less time- and cost- effective. In conjunction with other restrictions, this may cause those Creditorsto default on their own payment obligations and risk becoming insolvent.

Some comfort can be taken in knowing that directors of corporate entities will be provided some protection from trading insolvently, and that those Creditors will also be extended the same accommodations that they have had to extend to their debtors. However, each situation should be approached cautiously and proactively; directors in their individual capacity as a director, as well as separately on behalf of the company, should take legal and financial advice about their options when pursuing debtors and if they suspect insolvency.

Some ways to reduce the risks which will arise as a result of the Bill, depending on your circumstances, may be to:

  1. Issue statutory demands immediately on default by a debtor – the quicker the demand is issued, the quicker the six-month timer will start ticking;
  2. Continue to always comply with your obligations as director and remain informed of legislative changes; and
  3. Seek advice from professionals if you feel that your business may be in trouble – let your trusted legal and financial advisors assist you with minimising risk.

How HHG can help

If you need any assistance, our commercial law and dispute resolution team are always available to help you with any questions that you may have. If you require any further advice or assistance regarding the stimulus measures and your business operations please call Murray Thornhill on 1800 609 945 or email us and we’ll get back to you

*This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. Please consult one of our experienced Legal Team for specific advice relevant to your situation.

Supporting Western Australians for more than 100 years

"Always fast and thorough service. Thank you"


My circumstances at the time I made contact with HHG were dire following my argument being rejected by two no win no fee firms. Following my initial meeting with HHG's employment law team I was left feeling extremely positive by the response and concern shown by HHG in regards to their support of my argument along with their preparedness to pursue an outcome on my behalf.

I accept the fact that nobody really wins in these cases (mental health/ workplace) however the end result was what would be considered most favourable and far in excess of what would have been achieved had I not sought the advice from HHG.

I have no hesitation in recommending HHG to anyone caught up in the messy circumstances I found myself in at the time.

Great advice and five-star commitment to their client!!"


"Thank you for such great assistance with the transaction of Flying Domestics on behalf of Lorna Good. It has been such a pleasure to work with the HHG Legal Group and I look forward to working with you in the future."


"Simon Creek and his team were at all times empathic, professional and confident.  My matter needed to be addressed within a pressing time frame, and their availability at short notice and contact after hours was much appreciated.  It caused me considerable stress, but having such a thoroughly reliable and competent team to call on helped me to feel in control. Although I hope not to need their services again in future, I would be confident in doing so!"


"A good outcome is what we can expect.  A great outcome is a sign of a company which does the very best for their clients. A very big thank you to Daniel Morris for showing empathy towards my small and much needed legal action.

To HHG Legal Group, thank you for a great outcome.  I would recommend your company to anyone seeking legal services."


"Your support this morning was amazingly kind, not to mention your totally reassuring competence, knowledge and wisdom that you used on my behalf.  It was extremely reassuring to have your knowledgeable support, and I particularly appreciated your real and obvious kindness to me. It means so much at a very difficult time. I'm so grateful to you."

Family Law Client

"Janene was very professional and we established a good rapport quickly. The subject of death and wills can be quite confronting to deal with, however, Janene's approach was soft and accommodating."


"A big thank you to HHG for their professional service, continued support, and wide range of legal knowledge. Our clients have given us nothing but kind words regarding HHG Legal Group and so we have no hesitation in referring and recommending Simon Creek and HHG Legal Group for their outstanding services and legal expertise."


"Simon is a friendly and practical legal advisor. I have received great feedback from the clients I have referred to him and his team at HHG Legal Group."


"Over the last few years, I have been impressed by Simon’s legal ability, management skills, entrepreneurial spirit, personal integrity and people skills. He appears to be that rare breed of lawyer – both knowledgeable and commercial."


"Our family has been a client of HHG Legal Group over many years.  Business has included drawing up of wills for three generations and preparing of probate for my father in law. I would have no hesitation in recommending HHG Legal Group to anyone requiring such services."


"You should be congratulated for the manner in which your staff address clients and we found our dealings with your company, once again a very pleasant experience and we would like to truly thank you for your efforts."

Steve and Jane

"HHG Legal were absolutely fantastic. Extremely responsive and brought calm to our chaotic family situation through their knowledge and caring attitude. Extremely professional from our very first contact with them and they expertly guided our family though the required legal process over almost a 12 month period."


"Fantastic team! They really care about their client. Tim Colcutt is a 'go that extra mile' guy who gives his client his all. I can't recommend HHG and Tim enough."


"I had a fantastic lawyer in Matthew Lilly. He helped me out a great deal with good, sound advice in a friendly, professional manner. First class, thanks Matthew"


"Marine Plant Systems has been working with HHG Legal Group for a few years now and they continually provide first-class service. Their professional advice has been invaluable to our company."


"We were kept up to date at all times. Pricing was always updated over the time period so we remained "in budget". Personal access to someone whenever I had questions. All in all a great experience without too much fuss."


"Good service you can count on."


"HHG Legal Group has provided outstanding support as I have taken the journey of buying a business, their professionalism is beyond reproach. Their assistance throughout the Due Diligence process has been invaluable, I would fully recommend them."


"Very friendly and efficient service - what a pleasure working with Matthew."


"I highly recommend Daniel from HHG Lawyer in Mandurah. When dealing with a complicated legal property matter recently I was extremely impressed by Daniel's honesty and integrity and the legal advice I received. I am very happy with the service from HHG Legal."


Select your location:

Please select your nearest office location so we can show you the most relevant information.