Decision Regulatory Impact Statement: The Regulation of the Auction Sales Industry in Western Australia (final report) September 2019
The Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety – Consumer Protection Division (Consumer Protection) recently completed a review of the Auction Sales Act 1973 (the Act).
The key purpose of the review was to assess the Act’s relevance and appropriateness in meeting current and future consumer and industry needs. The review found the current legislation has not changed substantially since it was introduced in 1973. The marketplace, however, has changed significantly particularly through technology and the advent of online auctions changing the way many auctions are now conducted.
In recommending the reforms, the primary goal was to provide appropriate protections for consumers while at the same time maintaining the commercial viability of the auction sales industry.
The final report, in the form of a Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (DRIS), recommends a number of reforms which Cabinet has endorsed as the McGowan Government’s position on the future regulation of the auction sales industry. The DRIS outlines the options that were consulted on during the review, reports on issues raised by stakeholders and their input to the review, assesses the options for change and their impact on industry, consumers and government, and makes recommendations for reform.
The DRIS recommends the most appropriate regulatory model for the current marketplace is one where the Act is retained to regulate the conduct of auctioneers through current and additional conduct standards. A person would be required to comply with these conduct standards, but would not be required to obtain a licence to operate as an auctioneer.
In summary the key reforms recommended in the DRIS are that:
- all processes for the regulation of auctioneers would transfer from the Magistrates Court (within the Department of Justice) to Consumer Protection (within the Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety);
- a person would not be required to obtain a licence to operate as an auctioneer;
- the Auction Sales Act would retain current conduct standards and be amended to include additional conduct standards that an auctioneer would be required to comply with, for example the requirement to hold trust accounts;
- Consumer Protection, as the regulator, would investigate any allegations of unjust conduct and take action against auctioneers who breach the conduct standards;
- there would be a mechanism within the Auction Sales Act to suspend or remove auctioneers from operating in the industry for serious breaches of conduct; and
- real estate agents and motor vehicle dealers, who are licensed under their industry specific legislation, and who also operate as real estate and motor vehicle auctioneers, would also be required to comply with the conduct standards under the Auction Sales Act 1973, but would not be required to hold an additional auctioneer’s licence.
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