New Australian legislation will make electronic signatures equivalent to pen-on-paper signatures and ensure data messages are acceptable as original documents.
And the Government has initiated a number of other important changes to the law affecting corporations in its bid to hasten corporate adoption of e-commerce.
The legislative changes include changes to the Corporations Law to allow increased use of communications technology in calling and holding company meetings, electronic lodgment of proxy forms and documents and electronic distribution of prospectuses.
Launching "Building the Information Economy: A progress report on the enabling legal and regulatory framework," Minister for Communications, the Information Economy and the Arts Senator Richard Alston said Australia needed to embrace new technologies and new ways of doing business.
But the report itself made clear Australian business was still wary of the new technologies, citing a recent Andersen Consulting survey that found CEOs and policy makers expected e-commerce to change things for the better, but remained cautious about embracing the information economy.