Debt collection guideline for collectors & creditors

Temporary debt relief measures ended on
1 January 2021

As of 1 January 2021, temporary legislative changes implemented due to COVID-19 ceased, and the following changes apply for individuals and companies:

For individuals

  • The minimum debt threshold for creditors to apply for a bankruptcy notice against an individual has reduced from the temporary amount of $20,000 to the new permanent amount of $10,000.
  • The timeframe for a debtor to respond to a bankruptcy notice has reverted to 21 days. This means if a bankruptcy notice is issued on or after 1 January 2021, the debtor will have 21 days to respond.
  • The period for temporary debt protection for debtors has reverted to 21 days.
  • For more information, see the Australian Financial Security Authority.

For companies

  • The minimum debt threshold for creditors to issue a statutory demand against a company has reverted to $2,000.  
  • The timeframe for a debtor to respond to a statutory demand has reverted to 21 days. This means if a statutory demand is issued on or after 1 January 2021, the debtor will have 21 days to respond.
  • For more information, see Insolvency reforms to support small business.

If you receive a bankruptcy notice or statutory demand, you should seek independent legal advice or contact a financial counsellor.

Both the ACCC and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) enforce Commonwealth consumer protection laws, including laws relevant to debt collection.

The ACCC and ASIC have jointly produced this guideline which aims to assist creditors, collectors and debtors understand their rights and obligations, and ensure that debt collection activity is undertaken in a way that is consistent with consumer protection laws.

The guide was originally published in 2005 and has been updated to reflect significant changes to the law, such as the introduction of the Australian Consumer Law in 2011, the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009, and privacy laws and principles.

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