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Governance Institute welcomes ‘super registry’ funding, further steps on virtual meetings

Governance Institute of Australia says the Federal Government’s $800 million digital business announcement provides some much needed clarity for organisation’s struggling with the impact of COVID-19 under laws that are “mired in the 19th century”.

In particular, Governance Institute has welcomed:

  • Funding guaranteed for full implementation of the Modernising Business Registers program: “A further $419.9 million to enable the full implementation of the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program, allowing businesses to quickly view, update and maintain their business registry data in one location,” the JobMaker Digital Business Plan announcement states.
  • Next steps on allowing virtual meetings and e-signatures: “Consulting on making permanent the temporary reforms to allow companies to hold virtual meetings and execute documents electronically.”
  • Expansion of the Digital Identity Program: “$256.6 million to develop a Digital Identity system to enable more secure and convenient engagement with government services, and in future, the private sector.”

Governance Institute of Australia CEO Megan Motto said the plan is welcome news and includes positive steps on some much-needed tech reforms.

“The Federal Government has said their goal is for Australia to be a “leading digital economy and society by 2030” but there are still many steps that must be taken for this to become reality,” Ms Motto said. “This announcement is a move in the right direction on these crucial issues.”

The ‘super registry’ consolidates the Australian Business Register with the 31 registers that are maintained by ASIC.

“As a member of the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) Business Advisory Group, a key stakeholder body providing advice and feedback on the project to Government, we have long advocated for reform of Australia’s business registers,” Ms Motto said. “This announcement will ensure the full implementation of a system that simplifies and streamlines the various registers as one digital registry system.”

With virtual meetings and the electronic execution of documents proving a major issue for business during the pandemic, with many unsure how to legally comply with their meeting responsibilities while adhering to health advice, Ms Motto has welcomed the latest initiative.

Governance Institute provided evidence to the Senate Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, advocating for virtual AGMs and the electronic execution of documents.

“We are very pleased to see that the government is keen to continue the conversations on making these steps permanent by launching plans for consultations.”

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