27 September 2023

New laws to make pandemic practices permanent

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New legislation is to see some temporary measures that were put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic made permanent.

Announced by Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman, the Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 embeds measures that have supported small businesses and benefited the community, including modernising the way important legal documents are made.

Ms Fentiman said the past two years had been difficult, with the global pandemic presenting a number of challenges for Queensland communities and local businesses.

She said a range of temporary measures, such as allowing restaurants and cafés to provide takeaway liquor, and allowing witnessing and signing of important documents electronically and by video link, had been introduced.

“By implementing these measures as permanent, we are making everyday tasks easier for Queenslanders,” Ms Fentiman said.

“It’s time we modernise our longstanding practices to embrace technology.”

She said the Department of Justice and Attorney-General was the first Department to implement permanent measures that were brought in during the pandemic.

The Attorney-General said reforms in the witnessing and signing of documents would apply to affidavits, statutory declarations, general powers of attorney, deeds and particular mortgages.

“Common tasks such as buying or selling your home will be so much easier because of these reforms,” Ms Fentiman said.

She said the legislation also allowed licensed restaurant operators to apply to the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation for a permanent licence condition authorising the sale of two bottles of wine with a takeaway meal up to 10pm.

Ms Fentiman said there were also appropriate safeguards to minimise new risks introduced by the use of technology in the creation of documents, ensuring that appropriate documents continued to be executed on paper and witnessed.

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