Substantial new laws start in the next few months, and governments (in a very un-festive manner) have given businesses little or no time to undertake compliance for some of these.

 We recommend that you consider these changes and "make a list" and "check it twice" of what you need to do before your people go on annual leave in December and January, as it may be too late to start undertaking compliance in January.

  • PAMDA (Qld) repealed and split into separate laws - 17 January 2014 deadline for submissions: February 2014 start date

If properly complied with, these new laws will eventually reduce red tape in the debt collection, motor vehicle dealership and real estate industries. You should consider whether you, your employees and contractors are required to be licenced for certain activities. Your business premises or debtors being outside of Queensland will not necessarily avoid compliance with these new laws.

Example: for debt collecting, if contact by an employee collector is only ever by phone, then they will not need to be licensed. They will require a license, however, if at any time they are involved in any "face-to-face" discussions with debtors (debtor visits your business premises in person?/Facebook?/Skype?) or serve any process. Motor vehicle dealerships and real estate agencies will also need to ensure that necessary licenses are continuously held or changed come the start date or risk breach of commercial arrangements with manufacturers and franchisors.

We are currently preparing material as part of an industry group making submissions to government. Please contact Peter Mills if you wish to discuss any aspect of these Bills (or before 18 December if you would like to make a submission).

  • Review of the national ACCC / ASIC Debt Collection Guidelines and how the review might affect you - 13 December 2013 deadline for submissions

These guidelines are being reviewed for the first time since 2005. They are relevant to all creditors, debt collectors and debt purchasers. You should review your debt collection and debt assignment arrangements and processes to consider if they will comply with the proposed guidelines. We are also preparing a separate industry group submission on these guidelines. Please contact Peter Mills or Zayd Chothia if you would like to discuss any aspect of this review.

  • Personal Property Securities Act (PPSA) - transition period ends at midnight on 31 January 2014

We produce a free PPSA newsletter with various compliance tips for different industries. Receiving up-to-date relevant information is essential in ensuring your compliance and obtaining free PPSA registration (if you can, and do, register such interest before 31 January 2014). Please email us to join our subscriber list. If you would like a copy of our previous PPS newsletters click here for September and October.

You are also welcome to contact Peter Mills to create a checklist so that you might still take the benefit of these government fee exemptions ($8-$140 per registration).

  • Changes to the Privacy Act will change your obligations and liability for collecting, storing, updating and disclosing personal information - March 2014 start date: Submissions close 16 December 2013

You should make a list of what your people need to do to ensure compliance with these new laws, which come into force in March 2014. You will need to change your Privacy Policy, as well as procedures on how personal information is acquired, stored, updated and destroyed. You will also need to update employment and customer information policies and provide suitable training to your employees.