The group of industry bodies, including the Australian banking sector, is arguing that a raft of measures introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19 should be made permanent to save time, money and hassle.
The coalition — including the Australian Banking Association, the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Council of Small Business Organisations, the Financial Services Council, the Real Estate Institute of NSW and the Australian Property Institute — is writing to each member of the national cabinet to lobby their position.
CEO of the Australian Banking Association Anna Bligh said Australian consumers were the big winners from making the changes permanent.
“The onset of COVID-19 has meant fast-tracking moves right across the economy to a paperless, contactless digital way of conducting business,” Ms Bligh said.
“Today, we’re calling on both federal and state governments to make these changes permanent in order to keep the ease, keep the lower cost and reduce the hassle of transactions which rely on wet signatures and paper documents.”
Among the changes sought by the coalition is one allowing deeds to be created and signed electronically. The group is also asking for electronic signatures to replace paper signatures for a broader range of legal and business documents, including guarantees, statutory declarations and trust deeds.
Moreover, they want to see documents witnessed via audio-visual means with use of an electronic signature, arguing that witnessing should be dropped for deeds.
If heeded, the coalition’s lobbying could also change the way mortgages are handled, with calls to make the processing of mortgages digital.
“Federal and state governments are to be congratulated for moving swiftly during COVID-19 to use their emergency powers to facilitate these e-transactions. It’s now time to make these changes permanent to make transactions easier, keep the cost lower and reduce the hassle of transactions which rely on ‘in person’ signatures and paper documents,” Ms Bligh concluded.