We thank the Senate for voting today to make it easier to do business by allowing the permanent use of electronic signatures and the electronic execution of documents, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.“These welcome changes are common sense and will make it easier to do business, saving around $450 million in unnecessary red tape costs each year.
“The Senate’s decision makes permanent several temporary COVID-19 measures that enabled businesses to conduct ‘virtual’ or ‘hybrid’ meetings and allowed them to execute documents electronically.
“These changes will bring Australia’s corporations law into the 21st century, updating it to reflect modern technology and business practices.
“Virtual meetings have become essential for companies, given the restrictions that have been imposed on physical gatherings and border closures that continue to apply in certain parts of Australia.
“Electronic transactions and documents are now the norm in almost all areas of business, yet the Corporations Law still insisted on physical documents in many cases.
“The changes reflect the reality that already existed pre-COVID. The pandemic has simply exacerbated the need for such changes.
“We commend the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg for ensuring that the Corporations Amendment (Meetings and Documents) Bill 2021 was passed in a timely way before the temporary measures expired. The Senate’s decision today means business can get on with driving Australia’s economic recovery.’’