The Morrison Government has today released exposure draft legislation to support companies and their officers using technology to satisfy Corporations Act 2001 requirements. Specifically, this legislation will facilitate the use of technology in meetings, to execute company documents and send meeting-related materials.
These reforms make permanent the temporary measures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic relating to electronic execution of company documents and meeting notifications, which received overwhelming stakeholder support.
Building on the reforms to facilitate the use of technology in meetings, the exposure draft will also:
- make it clear that companies can hold hybrid meetings;
- make it clear that members, as a whole, must be given a reasonable opportunity to participate in meetings whether the meeting is a physical meeting, a hybrid meeting or a virtual meeting;
- ensure that using a show-of-hands is the default method for voting at both physical and hybrid meetings; and
- allow members who hold at least 5 per cent of voting capital to have polls independently scrutinised.
These changes will provide shareholders with enhanced opportunities to both participate in and scrutinise company meetings.
The exposure draft legislation also includes further reforms to modernise business communications by allowing sole directors who are not also appointed as the company secretary to electronically execute documents, delivering on a commitment under the Government’s deregulation agenda to improve the technology neutrality of Treasury portfolio laws.
Consultation will close on 16 July 2021.
The Government will continue to pursue regulatory reforms to support our economic recovery from COVID-19.