The Treasury Legislation Amendment (Small Business and Unfair Contract Terms) Bill 2015 has been passed with amendments by the Senate. The Bill will not proceed unless the Government agrees to the changes in the House of Representatives.
The Bill amends the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act) and the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to extend the unfair contract term protections currently available to consumers to cover small businesses.
As a result of the amendments, a contract is now defined as a small business contract if, at the time it is entered into, at least one party to the contract is a business that employs fewer than 20 persons, and the upfront price under the contract does not exceed either $300,000 (previously $100,000), or $1,000,000 (previously $250,000) if its duration is more than 12 months.
The original proposed six month transitional period for the legislation has been extended to 12 months.