The Corporations Amendment (Phoenixing and Other Measures) Bill 2012 (Cth) proposed (amongst other things) the introduction of an electronic notice system to provide a more efficient and effective means of communicating information about external administrations to the public.
In preparation for the changes, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) are in the process of developing a new website that will publish all notices relating to external administration. The website, which will be searchable, is expected to go live on 1 July 2012.
The documents that will be required to be published on the new website include all notices that insolvency practitioners are currently required to advertise for the purposes of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act). Although they will no longer be required to advertise notices in the newspaper, insolvency practitioners will pay a fee to upload each notice to the new website.
It is unclear at this stage whether the website will also publish notices relating to corporate insolvency that are required by other legislation such as the Rules of the Supreme Court 1971 (WA) (Rules). In particular, it remains to be seen whether notice of a winding up application having been filed in respect of a company (which the Rules require to be publically advertised) will be published on the website.
Depending on the search functions, the website is likely to make it significantly easier for lenders to keep track of corporate borrowers. If all notices relating to corporate insolvency (including those required by the Rules) are to be published on the new website, lenders will be better placed to act swiftly in response to an attempt to place company borrowers into liquidation.
The website is also expected to significantly reduce the advertising costs insolvency practitioners face in complying with their obligations under the Act. It is expected that the website will reduce advertising costs of the insolvency industry by around $30 million over the next four years.
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