The unfortunate decision of the government to split the commencement date of the ILRA 2016 has created confusion, compounded by apparent difficulties in the government and law publishers to provide accurate point in time legislation.
In retrospect, it would have been better to proceed with say a 1 June 2017 commencement date, if the profession needed still more time to understand what is required.
This is confirmed by the uncertain and limited response to the major changes which commenced on 1 March, despite these changes being seen last year as being able to be “easily implemented” by the profession. Those changes commencing on 1 September, although important from a practice perspective, involve less of an adjustment, certainly for those already familiar with bankruptcy but also for those adept at managing change.
But public perception is important. The government’s decision to defer much of the ILRA in response to some of the profession’s entreaties, has delayed
- the right of creditors to remove a liquidator,
- remuneration changes, beneficial to both liquidators and creditors,
- practitioners’ obligations to respond to creditor requests,
- disclosure of revised independence information, and
- more flexible court powers.
The profession has had far more complex issues to deal with over the years, along with many other professions – the PPSA, voluntary administration, the 1996 bankruptcy changes followed by superannuation and family law changes, and the GST. Significant changes will also occur this year.
In any event, we have what has been decided and, from a public perception perspective, the profession might well consider adopting those 1 September changes that can be implemented now – responding to creditors, reporting promptly within 3 months, preparing firms’ processes for regulatory scrutiny, and, for trustees, introducing themselves to creditors at the beginning of a meeting [the latter required by IPR(B) s 75-65].