Modernising Document Execution
Modernising document execution reform agenda
Our Modernising Document Execution section (MDE) has joint responsibility with the Department of Finance’s Regulatory Reform division to work toward modernising traditional paper-based and inefficient processes. The update to the Statutory Declarations Act 1959 in 2023 is one such project.
Modernising Document Execution Consultation, October 2021
In October 2021, the Deregulation Taskforce (at the time at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet) undertook the Modernising Document Execution (MDE) Consultation. The Deregulation Taskforce subsequently arranged and held roundtable consultations with consumer, industry and business groups on the topic of modernising document execution, including statutory declarations processes.
View details of the 2021 MDE Consultation and roundtable consultations on the Department of Finance's website.
Consultation on proposed reform to the completion of Commonwealth statutory declarations, July 2023
In July 2023, we consulted on a proposal to amend the Statutory Declarations Act 1959 and the Regulations 2018 to introduce new ways of completing Commonwealth statutory declarations which was informed by stakeholder feedback in the 2021 MDE Consultation.
Statutory Declarations Amendment Act 2023
In September 2023, the Attorney-General introduced the Statutory Declarations Amendment Bill 2023 into the House of Representatives which was informed by stakeholder feedback to the July 2023 Consultation and 2021 MDE Consultation. It made permanent the temporary measures which allowed for electronic execution of a Commonwealth statutory declaration through video link witnessing and introduced a new method of being able to create a Commonwealth statutory declaration without a witness through an approved platform and approved digital identity service provider. It also gave the Attorney-General power to make approved forms to make a valid Commonwealth statutory declaration with or without a witness.
We worked in collaboration with Services Australia and the Department of Finance to allow for myGov and myGovID to be the first (and currently only) approved platform for the digital execution option.
This Bill came into effect 1 January 2024, and is now the Statutory Declarations Amendment Act 2023.
Access the Statutory Declarations Amendment Bill 2023 and accompanying explanatory memorandum on the Australian Parliament House website for more information.
View the amended Statutory Declarations ACT 1959.
Statutory Declarations Regulations 2023
The Statutory Declarations Regulations 2023 set out the list of prescribed witnesses who are authorised to witness a Commonwealth statutory declaration.
These Regulations were made following the passage of the Statutory Declarations Amendment Act 2023. It introduced provisions that set out:
- the ways that a statutory declaration can be made
- requirements for making a digitally verified statutory declaration
- approved online platform and approved identity service requirements
- safeguards for special obligations for the approved online platform with prohibition on keeping copies, and a requirement for annual reporting to the responsible Minister
- safeguards for the online platform and identity provider to need to comply with the TDIF and AGDIS
View the Statutory Declarations Regulations 2023.
States and territories harmonisation
The Commonwealth and state and territory representatives have formed a working group to consider options to harmonise statutory declarations and deeds across various jurisdictions. We will share more details as soon as these are made available to the public.