In what must surely be a major embarrassment for the Federal government and certainly a significant burden on business, it has been confirmed that the new Australian national personal property securities regime will not be starting on 31 October as had been announced.

Commencement will now probably be deferred until at least 30 January 2012, although an official statement has not yet been released.

Online register plagued by major problems

The delay is apparently due both to significant technological problems and to significant design problems with the proposed new online register of personal property.

The Personal Properties Securities Act (2009) (Cth) passed in December 2009. It was originally slated for commencement in May 2011. This start date was then postponed until 31 October 2011.

Government silence regrettable

It is particularly unfortunate that the government has largely chosen to remain silent on the subject of the PPSA, rather than widely publicising the reforms both to the business community and the general public. Given that the new regime represents the biggest legal and commercial changes concerning personal property in our lifetime, this silence is difficult to understand.

It certainly will not help the government to avoid public scrutiny of the delays and continuing major problems with the implementation of the PPSA.

PPSA reforms have profound implications

The significance of the changes should not be underestimated. Despite the delays, they are definitely still coming.

The "personal property" which will be affected includes virtually everything, tangible and intangible, that we deal with in business or in our personal lives, other than water rights, buildings, land and any fixtures associated with land. Personal property extends beyond physical goods to intangibles like rights under contracts and intellectual property rights.

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2024.

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