Statutory review of the Personal Property Securities Act 2009
The statutory review was completed and the final report tabled in Parliament on 18 March 2015.
The extremely thorough and detailed 530 page report often referred to as the Whittaker report, makes 394 recommendations reflecting both the complexity of the PPSA itself and the professionalism of the reviewer (Bruce Whittaker, a partner in the leading law firm Ashurst) who called for and received 171 submissions. Read report
We now consider this report and make our recommendations to help businesses take appropriate action.
The practical consequences of recommended changes are likely to result in an extensive lead time.
- The first and most important point is the reviewer's caution that many of the recommendations are interdependent, urging they be adopted in their entirety unless further work is undertaken to ensure consistency. We agree with this cautionary note, but are less optimistic that it is achievable in the current political climate. For example, a relatively simple amendment to change the “90 day rule” for motor vehicles and other serial numbered goods to 12 months was recommended over 12 months ago; implementation is still outstanding.
Even if legislative reform on this scale is achievable other recommendations are likely to add to the delay of implementation.
- The reviewer has recommended that the drafting of amendments should be a collaborative process with input from the private sector. A number of the submissions suggested that people responsible for the original drafting were too removed from the commercial realities of the Australian market.
- It was also noted that the (in part) unsatisfactory design and functionality of the software underpinning the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) was consequent on it being written before the original legislation was finalised. The sensible recommendation is that changes to the PPSR software should only be specified once amendments to the legislation are passed. The process would entail:
- Building and testing of the enhancement to the system
- Publication of system changes to allow parties with systems that interact with the PPSR to change their software
- Testing of those changes prior to allowing access to the PPSR.
This will undoubtedly require a lengthy implementation process.
We recommend that any business purposely delaying PPSA compliance until amending legislation takes effect should reconsider their strategy.
The current law will remain in full force and effect, at times producing what one judge referred to as “seemingly harsh consequences”. Any business that continues to hold off pending reform is carrying a risk of facing those harsh consequences – for an undetermined period.
Equally, businesses that use the PPSR but were hoping for simplification to reduce compliance costs should be aware that there is unlikely to be any relief in the short term.
EDX - your PPSA partner
At EDX we fully understand the commercial balance between costs and benefits of compliance with the PPSA. We will continue to monitor the reform process and keep you apprised of developments.
Meanwhile, we are on hand to help you achieve PPSA best practice.
To discuss your registration policy or any other PPS matter, call head office on
T: 03 9866 4559
We will arrange for one of our consultants to contact you for an obligation free discussion about your business.
Alternatively, you may call them directly at the following phone numbers within your state by clicking this link