Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has flagged reform across a number of key areas: an expansion of the range of documents that can be signed electronically, an increase in the range of documents that can be sent electronically to shareholders, improving flexibility for customers when changing address, and removing prescriptive requirements for notices to be published in newspapers where suitable alternatives have been identified.
Mr Frydenberg said the reforms “will reduce the cost of doing business and form part of the government’s economic recovery plan, making it easier for businesses to do business, invest and create jobs now and into the future”.
In the first phase of the reform, which will see the government go “technology neutral”, the Treasury also hopes to address provisions within its legislation where only non-electronic payment options are in place.
The Treasurer said the government intends to finalise legislation dealing with phase one by the end of 2021.
Adding to the Treasurer’s comments, Ben Morton, the assistant minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, said “the Morrison government is committed to helping our economy recover from COVID-19 by cutting red tape for business, consumers and not-for-profits, and providing greater opportunity for businesses to benefit from new technologies”.
Further down the track, Mr Frydenberg indicated that the government will also consider reforms “in additional areas that could benefit from greater technology neutrality”.
Those areas include communication with regulators, reducing or removing Treasury portfolio legislation exemptions from the Electronic Transactions Act 1999, and product disclosure and record-keeping requirements.