Australian businesses have no-doubt benefited from the convenience afforded by temporary changes to the Corporations Act allowing virtual meetings and e-signing of documents during the pandemic. Unfortunately, these temporary measures are set to expire in March 2021 (unless they are extended).

A recent submission to Treasury by the Governance Institute of Australian (GIA) has argued that these temporary measures should be made permanent in an effort to modernise the Corporations legislation and facilitate the use of technology by organisations in a crisis such as the current pandemic. In making its case, GIA cites examples of increased participation by passive shareholders in general meetings (as a result of the increased ease with which they can attend virtually) and also points to efficiency gains in having information available to shareholders faster via electronic means.

The submission makes a compelling case and also shines a light on how some aspects of the current legislation may be overdue for revision. A copy of the submission (together with a short summary) can be downloaded on the GIA website here.

Joseph Carneli
Senior Associate