The Sunshine State is the fourth to announce an extension of COVID-19 protection measures for commercial leases and licences beyond the initial six-month period.
Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the extended moratorium will be “a shot in the arm for Queensland jobs and the economy”.
“This extension is about giving businesses, and the thousands of workers they employ, the certainty they need in these challenging times,” Ms D’Ath said.
“It’s about supporting jobs and keeping people in work as Queensland builds towards economic recovery.”
Queensland Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman said extending the code means that it is not too late for businesses to come forward and receive assistance under the code until 31 December.
“Today’s announcement is a huge relief for the many small businesses that are still struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Fentiman said.
Current commercial rent relief arrangements in other states and territories
Western Australia extended its relief to commercial tenants for another six months until 28 March 2021.
South Australia extended its commercial rent relief scheme until 3 January 2021.
Victoria announced the extension of its commercial rent relief scheme until 31 December 2020.
New South Wales is yet to announce an extension of its scheme beyond its scheduled end date of 24 October 2020.
Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory are yet to announce any extension of their commercial rent relief scheme beyond the end of September 2020.
Principles of the national cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct
According to the business.gov.au website, the code includes a common set of 14 principles. Some of the key principles indicate that:
- Landlords must not terminate leases for non-payment of rent during the COVID-19 pandemic (or reasonable recovery period)
- Tenants must stay committed to their lease terms (subject to amendments)
- Landlords must offer reductions in rent (as waivers or deferrals) based on the tenant’s reduction in trade during COVID-19
- Benefits that owners get for their properties (e.g. reduced charges, land tax, deferred loan payments) should be passed on to the tenant (in the appropriate proportion)
Businesses can access the full code of conduct here.