On 8 February, the AICD made a submission to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee on the Treasury Laws Amendment (Modernising Business Communications and Other Measures) Bill 2022.
The AICD has engaged extensively with government on its recent initiatives to modernise business communications by improving technology neutrality of Treasury portfolio laws and strongly supported the additional measures proposed by this Bill.
In particular, the AICD in its submission supported:
- The scope of documents that may be signed and sent electronically to be expanded under the Corporations Act, while retaining flexibility for paper-based options should that be the preference;
- Documents relating to takeover bids to be sent electronically between entities and members under Chapter 6 of the Corporations Act, with appropriate safeguards in place to prevent the misuse of personal information by the bidder. However, to minimise the risk of data theft or loss, we encouraged consideration of obligations on a bidder entity to securely dispose of personal and contact information of members acquired from a target entity where that information is no longer required for the purposes of a takeover bid;
- Providing entities with relief from an obligation to send a member communications and documents where that entity knows that the member's postal and/or electronic addresses are incorrect. To support best efforts to ascertain the current address of a member, we further supported entities having the flexibility to use all contact details and methods of communication for the member that are known to the sender, irrespective of the member’s election to receive documents in a particular form; and
- Enabling regulators to conduct hearings and examinations virtually, provided parties may request in-person hearings where such a format is preferred. However, on procedural fairness grounds, we consider that parties should have the right to elect to appear or be examined in-person should that be their preference.
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