Section 17 Notice – Authorisation to take actions electronically

On 3 April 2020, a notice was issued by the Premier of Tasmania, with the approval of the State Controller, under section 17 of the COVID-19 Act. The section 17 notice is available for viewing in the Tasmanian Government Gazette – Special Gazette of 3 April 2020.

The notice allows for a range of local council actions to be taken, or evidenced, by an electronic signature or an electronic document. This specifically applies to actions that are usually required to be taken by means of a physical action such as a signature, or evidenced in a non-electronic document.

What local council actions are covered by the notice?

The notice relates to a number of actions local councils are required to take under the Local Government Act 1993 and the Local Government (Meeting Procedures) Regulations 2015. These actions include:

  • authentication of certain local council documents;
  • matters relating to local council meeting minutes; and
  • the convening of local council meetings.

Under the notice, these actions may be taken, or evidenced, by electronic signatures or electronic documents.

Providing alternative arrangements are important for allowing continuity of business, particularly with the current restrictions on the movement of people and the need for social distancing.

How long does the notice remain in effect?

The notice will remain in effect for 12 months, unless revoked earlier.

The COVID-19 Act provides for notices to be revoked or amended. All notices are automatically revoked 60 days after the end of the emergency period as declared by the Premier.