Page 897 - Week 03 - Thursday, 7 April 2022

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The bill also introduces a specific land auctioneering licence and makes it an offence for anyone to conduct a land auction without holding a land auctioneers licence. From 1 July 2022, individuals seeking to conduct auctions will be required to hold either a class 1 or class 2 agent licence and complete three units of auctioneering-specific training.

To minimise disruption to the industry, the bill includes a transitional measure to allow existing agents who are licensed prior to the commencement of the reforms to continue to conduct auctions without a land auctioneering licence until 1 July 2024. This arrangement is subject to the condition that existing agents complete three units of auctioneering-specific training within this two-year period. This new licence class recognises that sales by auction inherently pose a greater risk to consumers as they are often unconditional and without a cooling-off period. Canberrans can be confident that agents who hold a land auctioneering licence have the necessary understanding and skills to complete their duties lawfully and diligently.

Additionally, the bill renames “salespersons” as “assistant agents” to signal to the community that, while this registration group provides important services to the community, it is an entry-level position and they are not subject to the same level of training as licensed agents.

The ACT government recognises that consumers have a reasonable expectation that real estate professionals are only able to carry out activities for which they have appropriate training, knowledge and qualifications. It is recognised that educational standards and the activities that can be performed under separate licence and registration categories must maximise protection for the community. Accordingly, the bill also restricts the activities an assistant agent may undertake as part of their registration so that, from 1 July 2022, assistant agents will be restricted from conducting auctions and withdrawing trust money.

In addition to these restrictions, all assistant agents registered after 1 July 2022 will be prevented from entering into agency agreements. This means that assistant agents will no longer be able to sign an agency agreement that binds a property owner and a real estate agency—or themselves as assistant agent—to lease or sell a property on a property owner’s behalf. Noting the need to provide a transitional period for existing assistant agents registered prior to commencement of the reforms, the restriction from entering agency agreements will apply to these registration holders from 1 July 2023.

A range of strict liability offences have also been included in the bill to support the appropriate enforcement of this new licensing framework. Under the amendments, the qualification and experience requirements prescribed for each registration and licence class will be determined by the Commissioner for Fair Trading using a disallowable instrument.

The qualification requirements will be updated in the disallowable instrument in accordance with the national training package. It is intended that, from 1 July 2022, all new entrants who wish to work as an assistant agent must complete five units prior to registration and an additional five units within their first 12 months as a registered

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