International Business Articles
The Electronic Transactions Legislation Amendment (Government Transactions) Act 2017 (NSW) (Act) came into effect on 27 June 2017. The stated aim of the legislation was to enable further transactions to take place electronically, and for the Government to make more use of technology in efficiently providing services to the people of New South Wales.
Key Changes Arising from the Act
The key changes that the Act made to other existing New South Wales Acts and Regulations are summarised as follows:
Forty Acts and Regulations that may have required certain documents to be served on a person personally or by post were amended to allow service electronically, such as by email.
Eleven Acts and Regulations that may have required certain information to be provided by statutory declaration were amended to allow that information to be provided by an approved electronic form.
Four Acts that may have required the Government to publish certain notices and information were amended to clarify and permit the Government to publish these notices and information on a newspaper’s online format or an appropriate publically accessible website.
Three Acts and Regulations that may have implied that certain documents had to be handled through the use of physical copies were amended to remove that implication.
The Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) was amended to enable the trial use of a digital driver licence.
A Digital Future
While small steps, the changes are an encouraging sign that the NSW Government acknowledges the need to modernise its processes and embrace a more digital culture.
Similar changes have been flagged to modernise more legislation in the near future.
The Government has set a target of 70% of government transactions to be conducted digitally by 2019.
Studies suggest that at a macro level, there can be significant economic benefits to conducting transactions digitally when compared to more traditional forms.
At a micro level, many businesses and individuals will be grateful for the elimination of pen and paper transactions, and appreciate the ability to complete dealings electronically.
While the benefits of our digital future are clear, the risks also have to be managed, particularly in the areas of privacy and information security. These risks may explain the long consultative process in relation to a possible implementation of a NSW digital driver licence.
The NSW Government has a key role to play in encouraging and growing the reputation of New South Wales as a place of innovation.