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Expanding the modernisation of company documents and meetings, and notices

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The Government has introduced the Treasury Laws Amendment (Modernising Business Communications and Other Measures) Bill 2022 into the House of Representatives. Background.

If passed, the Bill will amend the Corporations Act and other Commonwealth Acts to further modernise communication methods available to consumers, businesses and regulators when interacting with each other by:

  • extending the circumstances when documents can be signed electronically, and when members of certain entities can elect to receive documents in either hard copy or electronic form, and providing relief to entities that are unable to contact members under the Corporations Act;
  • ensuring that regulatory bodies in the Treasury portfolio can hold hearings and examinations using technology;
  • updating payment provisions in Treasury laws to allow electronic payments to be used; and
  • replacing requirements in Treasury laws (including the Corporations Act and the National Credit Code) to publish notices in newspapers with a requirement that notices be published in an accessible and reasonably prominent manner.

The Act will also implement amendments recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission in Interim Report A to simplify and improve the navigability of Australia’s financial services laws.

Corporations Act changes
The Bill expands the scope of technology neutral reforms made by the Meetings and Documents Act so that all documents under the Corporations Act can be signed electronically or using wet-ink, and certain additional categories of documents can be sent electronically and in hard copy.

Companies will not be required to send documents to a member where the contact details for that member are known to be incorrect.

National Credit Code changes

Section 64 of the National Credit Code concerns notification of interest rate changes by credit licensees. Credit licensees are currently equired to give notice of interest rate changes that increase the obligations of consumers by publishing a notice in certain newspapers (if they elect not to notify the debtor directly).

The Bill amends the section so that credit licensees will be required to publish such notice of interest rate changes in accordance with technology neutral publication requirements in a manner that allows the notices to be accessible to debtors and reasonably prominent.

Additionally, if a regulator determination is made concerning the publication of the notice, it must be published according to the determination.

Section 66 of the National Credit Code concerns notification of credit fees and charges. Credit licensees are currently required to give notice of changes that increase the obligations of consumers by publishing a notice in certain newspapers.

The Bill amends the section so that credit licensees will be required to publish such notice of the changes in accordance with the technology neutral publication requirements in a manner that allows the notices
to be accessible to debtors and reasonably prominent.

Additionally, if a regulator determination is made concerning the publication of the notice, it must be published according to the determination.

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David Jacobson

Author: David Jacobson
Principal, Bright Corporate Law
Email: djacobson@brightlaw.com.au
About David Jacobson
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. It is not to be relied upon as a full statement of the law. You should seek professional advice for your specific needs and circumstances before acting or relying on any of the content.

The post Expanding the modernisation of company documents and meetings, and notices appeared first on Bright Law.

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