Modernising Document Execution

Over 4.5 million deeds and 3.8 million statutory declarations are executed each year by individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises. The associated requirements for paper based processes, wet-ink signatures and physical witnessing discourage the end to end digital service delivery that people expect from government. A common digital approach to document execution could save over $400 million each year in time and cost savings for businesses and consumers.

The Australian Government is working to ensure that the regulations that govern the execution of documents are light-touch, fit for purpose and reflect the way businesses and consumers want to engage and communicate digitally.

Background information on document execution and consultations on modernising document execution is available at:

Electronic Transactions Act

In 2021, the Deregulation Taskforce (now the Regulatory Reform Division, Department of Finance) published the Modernising Document Execution (MDE) consultation paper, which focused on execution requirements for special documents like deeds and statutory declarations.

Through that process, respondents identified issues with the Commonwealth Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (ETA). As the ETA is an important feature of the growing digital economy and, as an Act of general application, interacts closely with other laws – it is important that people are aware of how it operates and that the Government is aware of any concerns in relation to its use.

The ETA consultation opened on 23 January 2023, closing on 20 March 2023. The Government, through the Attorney-General’s Department, is seeking feedback on, and experiences with, the ETA – including the consent requirements, e-signature verification, electronic records, and exemptions to the ETA. The feedback and views will help shape the effective implementation of the ETA to make Australian e-commerce clearer, more accessible and more consistent.

You can find more information about this work, and the consultation, at