Queensland Law Society

Important update: Post Cyclone information

Dear members

I sincerely hope that this message finds you, your staff and family safe as the after effects of Cyclone Debbie continue to ravage parts of our state. My thoughts are with those of you in particular who are currently in Rockhampton and surrounding affected areas as you evacuate and watch the rising Fitzroy River.

My understanding is that many of our law firms will hopefully stay dry in the upcoming floods, and my team at QLS are endeavouring to keep in contact with your local DLA presidents and QLS Senior Counsellors.  

As the after effects continue in areas such as RockhamptonLogan and the Gold Coast, I would like to thank you all for your patience in dealing with firms in the affected areas. Please keep in mind that businesses may be uncontactable or slow to respond as they prepare to evacuate or start the recovery process.

QLS is focusing on our members and what we can do for you. Thus, we will continue to update you via email, our social media channels and our website. Today, my aim is to assist you with some key information you may require. Please see below for general advice and guidance specific to your area.

Conveyancing settlements

If you are unable to perform settlement obligations solely as a consequence of a natural disaster you should refer generally to clause 6.2 of the REIQ/QLS standard contract for houses and residential land 13th edition.  Please note that clause 6.2 does not suspend time with respect to other clauses in the contract e.g. finance and building and pest approval. You should read the contract carefully to determine your client’s entitlements there under. If you have any concerns please contact the QLS Ethics Centre on 07 3842 5843, or email ethics@qls.com.au.

If your client’s contract is not a standard REIQ/QLS land contract, please refer to the terms of that contract to ascertain if there is a suspension of time clause for settlement obligations.

Court closures

Bowen and Proserpine courts are closed at the present time.

Emerald Court matters will be conducted via videolink. The same is expected for Blackwater on Friday.

At this point in time, we are advised that Woorabinda Magistrates Court will not sit on Wednesday.

We have spoken to representatives from DJAG and have been advised that at this time it is business as usual at all other courts unless notified otherwise. Please keep in contact with your local courthouse and the Courts Queensland website for updates.

If a practitioner is unable to attend court today, please contact the clerk to advise of your situation and request the appropriate adjournment. Alternatively, please contact the Associate to the relevant Judge.

Rockhampton

To our members in Rockhampton – our thoughts are with you all as you face the rising waters. Many roads are closed in the area and you can keep up to date via the Queensland Traffic website. Please also continue to follow the Queensland Police updates on their social media channels.

Please also note that the Rockhampton airport will be closed from midday today for an unknown amount of time.

Logan

For our members in Logan, they are still suffering the after effects of flooding, public transport cancellations/changes and road closures. Logan City Mayor Luke Smith has done a great job keeping people update via his Facebook page. Also continue to follow the Queensland Traffic website and the Queensland Police updates on their social media channels for road closures and safety messages.

Gold Coast

Our Gold Coast members are also still feeling the after effects much like Logan with flooding, road closures and public transport disruptions as they begin the recovery process. Again, please continue to follow the Queensland Traffic website and the Queensland Police updates on their social media channels for road closures and safety messages.

Please remember that the Queensland Government and emergency services are the best resource for up to date information during this recovery process.

Assistance for those affected

I again extend my heartfelt sympathies to those who have been affected by the cyclone or the after effects either in your business or at home. I truly hope that many of you were not hit severely and that anyone adversely impacted is receiving assistance.

If your practice did suffer in some way, I would like to provide you with some options you can investigate that may assist in your recovery:

  • Law Foundation Queensland if you require information about interest free loans to assist with recovery through their Benevolent Fund.
  • Queensland Law Society’s website for guidance on what to do if your firm has been affected by flooding or extreme weather conditions.
  • Lexon Insurance’s website if they are your insurer.
  • LawCare if you require any assistance with counselling, advice on how to help others or assistance with developing plans to manage issues and challenges. Please remember that QLS members, their staff and families do have access to up to six hours of free counselling each year through LawCare.

If you have been affected personally in your home, you can visit Queensland Government’s Get Ready Website for further information. You can also contact your local Federal Member’s office or visit their websites or social media channels for further information on what assistance is offered in your area.

The Queensland Government are also running a Community Recovery Hotline – 1800 173 349 that is live for information or for assistance.

Applications for financial assistance can be made online through www.communityrecovery.qld.gov.au. Stay up to date via their website.

The Insurance Council of Australia have declared a catastrophe for damage caused by Debbie and have stated that insurers were ready to assist policyholders. They advise those affected to lodge a claim as soon as they can. You can visit them on Twitter or their website for further information and updates.

Also remember that you may (if you haven’t already) start receiving calls from clients or potential clients in affected areas asking for information about ongoing matters or assistance with insurance issues. Please remember that this is a stressful situation for everyone involved and I appreciate any assistance you can offer the community at this time.

I, and my team at QLS, will endeavour to keep you up to date with any helpful information as the situation progresses.

For guidance on ethical or practice support matters please contact the QLS Ethics Centre 07 3842 5843 or ethics@qls.com.au. For afterhours queries please speak to Director, QLS Ethics Centre – Stafford Shepherd 0438 138 895.

Stay safe,

Christine Smyth

Christine Smyth

President

Queensland Law Society