In its report dated 11 September 2017, the Senate Economics Legislation Committee has recommended against passing the Corporations Amendment (Modernisation of Members Registration) Bill 2017 (Bill).  The Bill proposes to amend section 169(1)(a) the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) to include an email address in the information that must be contained in a register of members.

Key findings of the Committee in making its recommendations included:

  • unintended consequences of the Bill have the potential to result in a significant and costly burden on all types of corporate structures;
  • failure to maintain a register under section 169 of the Act is a strict liability offence but the Bill does not contain provisions to deal with the situation where a member does not, or is not willing to, provide an email address.  (The Committee noted that while the optional provision of an email address may assist companies in this regard, such a proposal does not form part of the Bill as drafted); and
  • privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

Despite its recommendation not to pass the Bill, the Committee did advocate for more technological neutrality in communication methods and the incorporation of such neutrality into the Act, and encouraged Treasury to continue consulting with a view to proposing a ‘holistic approach to modern communication methods’ throughout the Act.