Page 1341 - Week 04 - Thursday, 5 May 2022
Ordered that executive business be called on.
Fair Trading and Other Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2022
Debate resumed from 7 April 2022, on motion by Mr Rattenbury:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (6.08): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill and the largely sensible amendments made to eight acts and regulations. As the Attorney-General would be aware, as part of the national effort to harmonise the real estate licensing and qualifications regulatory framework, these changes to the Agents Act 2003 and the Agents Regulation 2003 will align our laws with the national real estate training package and with the rest of the nation, and propose important changes to ensure peace of mind for homebuyers, home owners, renters and all property consumers in the ACT.
The Canberra Liberals will always seek to provide protection for consumers and upskilling opportunities for industry professionals to ensure the highest quality of customer service in the territory. Bringing upskilling opportunities to Canberrans is of the utmost importance to the Canberra Liberals and has been a worthy focus of the federal coalition government since they overhauled the licensing framework in 2018 to promote skills and vocational training amongst industry professionals.
However, it is worth emphasising that we are the last state or territory to enact these legislative changes and adopt the national real estate training package. This government has had, since 2018, time to strengthen our licensing laws for real estate agents, in line with the national framework. This is far too long a period, given that every other jurisdiction has acted within that time. For example, New South Wales adopted these reforms in early 2020.
It is just not good enough for the territory to be lagging behind important regulatory changes, particularly those that have a national harmonisation agenda; rather, we ought to be at the forefront. I realise that the Attorney-General was not in that role in the previous Assembly, but I hope that the message is being heard. The territory should be ahead of the curve, not coming last. Despite having the time to work on these, obviously COVID affected everybody, not just the ACT. I encourage not just the Attorney-General and his department but all ACT departments who sign up to national schemes of one form or another to get ahead of the curve—even to be first on some occasions.
As part of our commitment, the Canberra Liberals will remain vigilant on behalf of real estate professionals and consumers to ensure that there is no risk of unintended consequences and so that they know they can reach out to us. I have spoken to industry professionals and to the representative body, REIACT. I am available, as