Newly licensed real estate agents will not be able to immediately run their own agency until they gain more experience and undergo more training, under an ACT government plan to improve the industry.
Consumer Affairs Minister Shane Rattenbury will introduce the Fair Trading and Other Justice Legislation amendment bill into the Legislative Assembly as part of a move the government said would improve protections for renters and potential homeowners.
The laws, if passed, would divide real estate agent licences into two classes, so those who act as licensees-in-charge of a place of businesses must hold extra qualifications and have at least two-years' experience in the industry.
The changes would also make it an offence for anyone who does not hold a land auctioneer's licence to conduct a land auction, and it would introduce new offences to prevent assistant agents withdrawing trust money or entering into agency agreements.
Mr Rattenbury said buyers, sellers and renters would have fresh confidence under the reforms that local real estate agents had the skills and knowledge required to carry out their legal and professional duties.
"Given the tight local property market, it is increasingly important that the sector is appropriately regulated, and those employed in the real estate industry have the proper training for the tasks they perform," Mr Rattenbury said.
The changes would give the Commissioner for Fair Trading the power to determine the qualification and experience requirements for agent licences and assistant agent registrations, the government said in a statement.
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The laws would also phase out the unqualified salesperson registration pathway so everyone in the industry held a minimum level of qualification.
"The proposed changes also include measures to assist industry professionals in their transition to the new regulatory framework by 1 July 2024," the government said.
The series of amendments would support the implementation of the national real estate training package and bring the ACT into line with rules already in place in other states and territories for property industry professionals, the statement said.
Meanwhile, laws that will eventually ban all domestic cats from roaming in the ACT in an effort to protect native wildlife passed in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday afternoon.
Cat containment will apply across the ACT to all cats born from July 1, while all cats kept as pets in the territory from that point will also need to be registered.
City Services Minister Chris Steel said the laws built on the successful dog registration model to promote the health and wellbeing of pets and responsible pet ownership.
The ACT government announced it would implement citywide cat containment in May last year.
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Jasper Lindell joined the Times in 2018. He is a Legislative Assembly reporter, covering ACT politics and government. He also writes about development, heritage, local history, literature and the arts, as well as contributing to the Times' Panorama magazine on Saturdays. He was previously a Sunday Canberra Times reporter.
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