Changes to company operations are at the forefront of the Government’s agenda with the recent release of a draft bill, which proposes to allow companies to benefit from provisions in the Electronic Transactions Act 1999, which had previously been restricted.

When the Corona virus pandemic began to sweep through Australia, the Government swung into action and implemented various amendments to several pieces of legislation in order to assist people, businesses and the economy to be able to weather the storm, and make life a little bit easier during such a difficult time.  The changes that were particularly welcome were those pertaining to company operations, the streamlining of business processes and allowing companies to take advantage of modern (and contact free!) technologies.

By being able to conduct virtual meetings and have documents executed electronically rather than in person, the temporary changes to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) were something that had been long-awaited by those running businesses. In addition to enabling meetings to be held electronically and removing the requirement for hardcopy documents for execution, the changes included the ability for notices about meetings to be disbursed to members electronically and the minutes of the meeting to be taken and disbursed electronically.

It appears that the temporary measures in place since the start of the pandemic were so successful in reducing costs, making conducting business more efficient and allowing companies to utilise a variety of modern technologies to conduct their businesses and engage with shareholders, that the Government is now seeking to make the changes permanent, and has released draft legislation amending the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to allow for virtual meetings and electronic communications to the public for stakeholder and public feedback.

Although it appears that the desire for these changes were already present, and have been so for perhaps some time, the pandemic and ultimate success of the temporary measures implemented by the Government during this time have propelled the issue into the spotlight, and enabled a rapid reform to the relevant legislation to bring it up to date with the technological era and the way that many businesses would like to operate in this day and age.

If you would like clarification on the changes to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) or have any other queries in relation to running a company, business or any other commercial enquiries, Affinity Lawyers are able to assist.  Telephone one of our friendly Gold Coast lawyers today on 5563 8970 to arrange an initial consultation.