Page 896 - Week 03 - Thursday, 7 April 2022

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Fair Trading and Other Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2022

Mr Rattenbury, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (10.59): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present the Fair Trading and Other Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 to the Assembly. The bill makes amendments across four primary legislative acts and their corresponding regulations. It is an omnibus bill which primarily makes amendments within my portfolio responsibilities as the Minister for Consumer Affairs. However, the bill also includes amendments which fall within the portfolio of the Special Minister of State. The amendments will improve regulatory frameworks to promote greater consumer protection outcomes for our community.

The bill will make significant reforms to the regulation of the real estate industry by amending the Agents Act and regulation to improve professional standards and qualifications and streamline the licensing framework for the industry.

Significant trust is placed in real estate professionals by consumers in our community. Almost every Canberran will have some sort of interaction with real estate agents at some point, whether that be through the management of their rental property or through the sale or purchase of property. While most agents undertake their role and responsibilities in accordance with regulatory and community expectations, there has been some suggestion by industry and consumers alike that the industry would benefit from updated educational and qualification requirements.

The amendments to the Agents Act and Agents Regulation recognise and address the need for a highly skilled real estate industry workforce by introducing a new licensing framework to support the implementation of the national real estate training package. The national training package was commissioned by the Australian government and was designed to ensure that qualifications reflect industry roles and clearly define the skills and roles within the profession. These amendments will provide consistency with educational standards in place in other jurisdictions and will help to ensure that all parts of our real estate sector are appropriately trained to carry out their duties ethically, professionally and in accordance with the law.

Under the amendments, agent licences will be divided into class 1 and class 2 licences. From 1 July 2022, all licensees-in-charge of a real estate business must hold a class 1 agent licence, and this licence class will be subject to higher education qualification requirements.

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