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Licensing Information by State/Territory

Select your State/Territory below for specific licensing and training information.


National Overview

To set the scene of how licensing applies, here are a few considerations about the national environment for licensing:

The National Consumer Credit Protection Act, 2009 and Regulations does not specifically apply from a licensing perspective to those engaged in the work of an agent as a collector, investigator, process server or repossession agent in Australia - instead licensing of those persons is determined by the specific state or territory regulation where the person is domiciled.

In June 2010 an amendment to the regulations provided a permanent exemption to collectors from licensing under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act, 2009 and Regulations. Collectors are otherwise subject to the conduct and general provisions of the National Credit Code.

The National Consumer Credit Protection Act, 2009 and Regulations does apply to those engaged in debt purchasing in Australia as those entities must hold an Australian Credit Licence issued by ASIC pursuant to the Act and Regulations.

Additional details on the National Consumer Credit Protection Act, 2009 and Regulations can appropriately be sourced at the website of the relevant regulator ASIC. Specifically, ASIC has issued detailed guidance and general information to explain the credit licensing process and obligations under the credit legislation.

Need more information? Select your State/Territory from the list below.

Australian Capital Territory

Interested in entering the industry in the Australian Capital Territory as a:

  • Collector?
  • Investigator?
  • Process Server?
  • Repossession Agent?

There is no licensing regulation for these occupations in the ACT. A number of ACT governments have worked on and considered various licensing models to adopt but to date none have been enacted as legislation.

This absence of licensing is widely regarded by industry practitioners in the ACT as deeply regrettable. ACT practitioners in their desire to demonstrate their commitment to proper regulation of their activities choose to maintain licences issued pursuant to the NSW industry legislation.

Since 1 May 2006 persons in NSW involved in these occupations have been licensed under the Commercial Agents & Private Inquiry Agents Act 2004 (CAPI Act) which is governed by the Security Licensing and Enforcement Directorate - NSW Police Force.  This regulatory regime is soon to change with the NSW Government introducing the Security Industry Amendment (Private Investigators) Bill 2016 which was passed without amendment in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council on 10 August 2016.

This Bill will remove the regulation of private investigators from the CAPI Act and provides for them to be licensed under the NSW Security Industry Act 1997.  The NSW Government is expected to introduce a further standalone bill to regulate commercial agents and to repeal the CAPI Act – such bill is expected to move oversight of commercial agents away from the Police to the Office of Fair Trading.  The Security Industry Amendment (Private Investigators) Bill 2016 and the future bill for commercial agents will commence at the same time on a date yet to be proclaimed.

Currently, under the CAPI Act licences are placed into two groups:

  • Operator licences for Agents (employees); and
  • Master licences for Businesses (employers)

Holders of Operator licences must be employed by the holder of a Master licence (not subcontracting), or hold an Individual Master licence themselves.

Operator licences may be issued for a period of 1 or 5 years and Master licences may be issued for 5 years, unless suspended or cancelled by the NSW Police Commissioner; e.g. if the conditions of a licence are not satisfied or the licensee is convicted of a prescribed offence.

A person's first operator licence is probationary and the holder must work under the immediate supervision of a fully licensed operator or master licence holder.

An Operator licence is a 'photograph' licence, approved by NSW Police and issued by the Roads & Marine Services (RMS).

A Master licence (for businesses) is a certificate style, paper licence, approved and issued by the CAPI Unit, Security Licensing & Enforcement Directorate - NSW Police Force (SLED).

All licences are subject to conditions. It is a responsibility of licensees to be familiar with and comply with all conditions.

Licence fees must accompany all applications. Unsuccessful applications incur a non-refundable processing fee. Completed licence applications are processed centrally by the CAPI Unit at SLED which can be contacted as follows:

Security Licensing and Enforcement Directorate, Locked Bag 5099, Parramatta NSW 2124
Phone: 1300 362 001 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax: 1300 362 066

SLED does not have facility for personal lodgement - applications and payments will only be accepted by post. For further information see www.police.nsw.gov.au/sled.

New South Wales

Interested in entering the industry in New South Wales as a:

  • Collector?
  • Investigator?
  • Process Server?
  • Repossession Agent?

Since 1 May 2006 persons in NSW involved in these occupations have been licensed under the Commercial Agents & Private Inquiry Agents Act 2004 (CAPI Act) which is governed by the Security Licensing and Enforcement Directorate - NSW Police Force.  This regulatory regime is soon to change with the NSW Government introducing the Security Industry Amendment (Private Investigators) Bill 2016 which was passed without amendment in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council on 10 August 2016.

This Bill will remove the regulation of private investigators from the CAPI Act and provides for them to be licensed under the NSW Security Industry Act 1997.

The NSW Government introduced a further standalone bill to regulate commercial agents and to repeal the CAPI Act – such bill moving oversight of commercial agents away from Police to the Office of Fair Trading.  The two bills will commence at the same time on a date yet to be proclaimed.

On 11 October 2016, Fair Trading Amendment (Commercial Agents) Bill was amended such that all commercial agents in NSW would be subject to a new licensing regime: the legislation provides for negative licensing of commercial agents engaged in telephone collections only (no face to face contact with consumers) and that for all other commercial agents where involved in activities involving face to face contact with consumers (whether in debt collections, process serving or repossessions) they shall continue to be regulated under a positive licensing scheme.

The key points of the amendments being:

  • A positive licensing system be retained for field agents while introducing a negative licensing system for telephone agents
  • “Field agents” are defined as commercial agents who had face-to-face contact with consumers whether in the course of collecting debts, serving process or undertaking repossession
  • Administration of licensing of commercial agents will move to NSW Fair Trading
  • Licensing system for commercial agents has been ‘streamlined and simplified’
  • Anyone who, for the purposes of carrying out a commercial agent activity, approaches or attempts to approach the person who is the subject of that activity, or their property, or enters or attempts to enter premises at which the subject lives, works or frequents, must hold a commercial agents licence
  • A licence will be necessary for both the employer of the field agent and the field agent themselves
  • A licence may be issued for a 1 or 3 year term
  • A person will be able to obtain a commercial agent licence if they are:
    • 18 years of age or over
    • not a disqualified person
    • determined by Fair Trading to be a fit and proper person to hold such a licence
  • A person or a corporation will be disqualified from holding a licence if they:
    • are under the age of 18;
    • are an undischarged bankrupt or taking advantage of the laws in force relating to bankruptcy;
    • are a corporation that is the subject of a winding-up order for which a controller or administrator has been appointed;
    • have been convicted within the previous five years of an offence involving violence, firearms, weapons, fraud, drugs, dishonesty, harassment or coercion, and a fine of $500 or more or a sentence of imprisonment has been imposed;
    • are subject to an exclusion order; or
    • are a controlled member of declared organisations within the meaning of the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2012.

The amendments were passed in the Legislative Council on 11 October 2016 and considered by the Legislative Assembly which passed the amendments on 13 October 2016.

Currently, until the new legislation comes into effect, under the CAPI Act licences are placed into two groups:

  • Operator licences for Agents (employees); and
  • Master licences for Businesses (employers)

Holders of Operator licences must be employed by the holder of a Master licence (not subcontracting), or hold an Individual Master licence themselves.

Operator licences may be issued for a period of 1 or 5 years and Master licences may be issued for 5 years, unless suspended or cancelled by the NSW Police Commissioner; e.g. if the conditions of a licence are not satisfied or the licensee is convicted of a prescribed offence.

A person's first operator licence is probationary and the holder must work under the immediate supervision of a fully licensed operator or master licence holder.

An Operator licence is a 'photograph' licence, approved by NSW Police and issued by the Roads & Marine Services (RMS).

A Master licence (for businesses) is a certificate style, paper licence, approved and issued by the CAPI Unit, Security Licensing & Enforcement Directorate - NSW Police Force (SLED).

All licences are subject to conditions. It is a responsibility of licensees to be familiar with and comply with all conditions.

Licence fees must accompany all applications. Unsuccessful applications incur a non-refundable processing fee. Completed licence applications are processed centrally by the CAPI Unit at SLED which can be contacted as follows:

Security Licensing and Enforcement Directorate, Locked Bag 5099, Parramatta NSW 2124
Phone: 1300 362 001 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax: 1300 362 066

SLED does not have facility for personal lodgement - applications and payments will only be accepted by post. For further information see www.police.nsw.gov.au/sled.

Occupational Description

Historically, process servers in NSW deposed their occupation within Affidavits of Service as either: "I am a licensed commercial agent" or "I am a licensed commercial sub agent".  Such terms are not appropriate under the current licensing of a master/operator structure with endorsement for functions such as debt collection, process serving or repossession.

Accordingly, for the purpose of clarity the appropriate descriptor to use for the process server’s occupation in affidavits and declarations is the term "a licensed process server" - such descriptor usage was recommended by the IMA and has been subsequently endorsed by the CAPI Unit.

Northern Territory

Interested in entering the industry in the Northern Territory as a:

  • Collector?
  • Investigator?
  • Process Server?
  • Repossession Agent?
  • Private Bailiff?

Persons in the Northern Territory involved in those occupations must be licensed under the Commercial and Private Agents Licensing Act. Under such Act:

Commercial Agent means a person who, for monetary or other consideration, performs any of the following functions:

  • ascertaining the whereabouts of, or repossessing any goods or chattels that are the subject of a hire purchase agreement or bill of sale;
  • collecting, or requesting the payment of debts;
  • executing any legal process for the enforcement of any judgment or order of a court;
  • executing any distress for the recovery of rates, taxes or monies;
  • obtaining evidence for the purpose of any legal proceedings; or
  • searching for missing persons on behalf of any other person.

Inquiry Agent means a person who, for monetary or other consideration, performs any of the following functions:

  • Obtaining or providing information as to the personal character or actions of any person, or as to the business or occupation of any person;
  • Obtaining evidence for the purposed of any legal proceedings; or
  • Searching for missing persons on behalf of any other person.

Private Bailiff means a person who holds a licence as a private bailiff under this Act - a private bailiff can execute warrants and processes and make arrests.

Process Server means a person who, for monetary or other consideration, performs the function of serving any writ, summons or other legal process on behalf of any other person.

The legislation sets out the requirements for applicants for licences at Part 2 Division 2 Section 7 of the Commercial and Private Agents Licensing Act:

"Section 7 Application for Licences"

Application for licence

  1. A person may apply to the Commissioner for a licence to carry on business as a commercial agent, inquiry agent, private bailiff or process server.
  2. An applicant may be -
    1. an agent applying for a category of licence other than the category the agent holds;
    2. a person who is employed by an agent; or
    3. any other person.
  3. An applicant may apply for one licence or a number of licences of different categories.
  4. An application is to -
    1. be in a form approved by the Commissioner;
    2. contain the information that is indicated by the form or otherwise prescribed;
    3. be accompanied by the prescribed processing fee; and
    4. in the case of an application for a licence to carry on business as a commercial agent or a private bailiff - be accompanied by the bond in the prescribed form and the prescribed security that the applicant would, if the applicant were a commercial agent or a private bailiff, be required to lodge with the Commissioner under Part 5.

As part of the licensing process, commercial agents in the Northern Territory are required to lodge evidence of holding a bond (fidelity guarantee cover) for the following amounts (see Part 5 Section 19 of the Act):

    1. Corporation - $2,000;
    2. where the agent is not a corporation and the agent proposes to carry on or carries on business as an agent in partnership with another person - $1,500; and
    3. in all other cases - $1,000

The Institute of Mercantile Agents issues bonds (fidelity guarantee cover) pursuant to the NT legislation to its members on commercial terms.

Applying for a licence:

The NT Department of Business details that to apply for a licence, applicants should follow these steps:

Step 1. Fill in one of these forms which are available here:

  • to apply as an individual, use the application for a licence by a natural person form
  • to apply as a corporation, use the application for a licence by a corporation form
  • to apply for mutual recognition if you are licensed in another Australian state or territory, use the application for a licence under mutual recognition form
  • if you apply as a corporation, you also need to fill in an application for approval for an agent manager form

Step 2. Check the fees and bonds.

Step 3. Get a police check.

Step 4. Submit your forms, fees and supporting documentation at your nearest Territory Business Centre.

To contact the Department of Business - Northern Territory Government – Licensing NT

Darwin Phone: (08) 8999 1800 Fax: (08) 8999 1888
Katherine Phone: (08) 8973 8810 Fax: (08) 8973 8867
Alice Springs Phone: 08) 8951 5195 Fax: (08) 8951 5112
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Queensland

Interested in entering the industry in Queensland as a:

  • Collector?
  • Investigator?
  • Process Server?
  • Repossession Agent?

Collectors, Process Servers and Repossession Agents

Persons in Queensland working as a collector, process server or repossession agent since December 2014 have been regulated under the Debt Collectors (Field Agents and Collection Agents) Act, 2014 and the Debt Collectors (Field Agents and Collection Agents) Regulation 2014.

Under this regulatory regime, a collection agent does not need a licence or registration to be able to contact a debtor in writing or over the phone to collect debts and request payment of debts. Collection agents typically work in high-volume call centres and do not have face-to-face contact with a debtor.

Although a licence is not required an individual must not work as a collection agent unless meeting all the criteria set out in the Regulations, namely:

  • Not be under 18 years old
  • Not be an insolvent under administration
  • Not have been disqualified from working in the debt collection industry
  • Not currently suspended as a field agent or subagent
  • If convicted in the past 5 years of a serious offence – being anything that is punishable by 3 or more years in prison, including:
    • violent offences (including threats to use violence)
    • fraud and dishonesty
    • drug trafficking
    • extortion
    • arson
    • unlawful stalking
    • an offence of a sexual nature

A corporation must not work as a collection agent if:

  • Any director or executive officer fails the individual requirements (as listed above)
  • It has been disqualified from working in the debt collection industry
  • It is currently suspended as a corporate field agent
  • It has had its licence cancelled

A licence is required under the regulatory regime to work as a field agent to undertake the following activities:

  • find and recover goods (repossession)
  • collect debts face-to-face
  • serve documents (process serving)

To be eligible for a field agent licence, you must be 18 years or over and meet suitability criteria namely:

  • Not be an insolvent under administration
  • Not be currently disqualified from holding a licence or registration certificate
  • Not have been convicted within the past 5 years of a serious offence (as listed earlier above)

The licensing regulator will consider whether an applicant for a field agent licence:

  • Has a criminal history
  • Has been an executive officer of a corporation that has gone insolvent
  • Was the cause of a successful claim fund action
  • Is subject to a court or tribunal order due to involvement as a marketeer
  • Has been previously disqualified from holding a licence or registration certificate
  • Is disqualified from being a company director
  • Is incapable of satisfactorily doing the job of a licensee
  • Is unsuitable because of the applicant’s character or the character of the applicant’s business associates
  • Is allowed to work in Australia.

A corporation carrying on the business of being a field agent must have a valid licence to work as a field agent. The personnel of a corporation must have individual licences if they are:

  • Directors of the company and carry out the work of a field agent (a director does not need a licence if they don't act as a field agent.)
  • The officer in charge of regulated business.

To be eligible for a licence, a corporation must have an individual licensee in charge of the regulated business. An applicant will not be a suitable company if:

  • Currently disqualified from holding a licence
  • Having been convicted of a serious offence (as listed earlier above) within the past 5 years
  • Having an unsuitable director or executive officer.

An applicant will not be a suitable company if any director or executive officer:

  • Is insolvent under administration
  • Has been convicted of a serious offence within the past 5 years

The licensing regulator will consider whether any director or executive officer of an applicant corporation:

  • Has a criminal history
  • Has been an executive officer of a corporation, which was previously licensed, that has gone insolvent
  • Was the subject of a successful claim fund action
  • Has been cancelled or suspended from holding a licence or registration certificate
  • Has been previously disqualified from holding a licence or registration certificate
  • Is disqualified from being a company director
  • Have previously been an insolvent under administration
  • Is unsuitable because of their character or the character of their business associates
  • Is not allowed to work in Australia

An individual may apply for registration as a subagent to work for a field agent and will be required to meet similar eligibility and suitability criteria to that detailed above for applicants to be a field agent.

Under the Act, there is no requirement that applicants for a licence or registration have any experience nor required to meet any minimum educational requirements. Licence and registration applications are available from the Queensland Office of Fair Trading.

 

Investigators

Investigators in Queensland are licensed pursuant to Security Providers Act 1993. A private investigator can be hired to:

  • find out private information about a person without their permission
  • carry out surveillance to gather information about that person
  • investigate the case of a missing person

To become licensed, an individual applicant must:

  • meet the eligibility criteria
  • complete training and attach proof of qualifications
  • fill out and lodge an application form

To be eligible for a licence, an individual applicant must:

  • be 18 years or older
  • not pose a risk to public safety
  • pass the required training course

An applicant will not be eligible for a licence if the individual has been convicted of a disqualifying offence in the past 10 years, where a conviction was recorded. An applicant must also inform the licensing regulator if found guilty of a disqualifying offence in the preceding 5 years, where a conviction was not recorded.

Note a licence as a private investigator under the legislation can only be issued to an individual not to a company or business name.

It should be noted those actually in the business of supplying private investigators are required under the Security Providers Act 1993 to be licensed as a "security firm":

"8 What is a security firm"

A security firm is a person who, or partnership that, engages in the business of supplying, for reward, security firm services to other persons.

Licences for security firms can be issued to individuals, partnerships and corporations using this application form.

The Act requires a security firm to have a nominee who is responsible for the conduct of the business of a security firm and is required to complete and sign all documents required under the Act or Regulations. The nominee is also responsible for ensuring that the security firm complies with the Act.

Where the applicant is an individual, the applicant is considered to be the nominee. The Regulations require that where an application for a security firm is made by a partnership, one of the partners must be appointed as the nominee. Where the applicant is a corporation, an officer of the corporation must be appointed as the nominee.

The Act also requires security firms to be a member of an Approved Security Industry Association - the Institute of Mercantile Agents is an Approved Security Industry Association pursuant to the ACT.

For more information visit the Queensland Office of Fair Trading website.

South Australia

Interested in entering the industry in South Australia as a:

  • Collector?
  • Investigator?
  • Process Server?
  • Repossession Agent?

Collectors, Investigators and Repossession Agents

Any person (including a company) in South Australia who carries on business or is employed as a security and/or investigation agent, must be licensed under the Security and Investigation Agents Act 1995 and Security and Investigation Agents Regulations 2011. If a business operates as a partnership then each partner must hold their own licence.

In SA, you are considered to be acting as an investigation agent if you perform:

  • collection work:
    • ascertaining the whereabouts of, or repossessing, goods
    • collecting or requesting the payment of debts
    • executing legal process for the enforcement of a judgement or order of a court
    • executing distress for the recovery of rates, taxes or money
    • searching for missing persons
    • obtaining evidence for the purpose of legal proceedings
  • enquiry work:
    • obtaining or providing - without the written consent of a person - information about the person or about the business or occupation of the person
    • obtaining evidence for the purpose of legal proceedings - whether the proceedings have been commenced or are prospective.

Applying for a licence:

1. Application form

Online - complete the application form then print, sign and date it.

Phone - call 131 882 and staff will complete the form and forward it to you to check and sign.

In person - at the Adelaide CBS customer service centre, 91-97 Grenfell St, Adelaide.

2. Lodgement

Lodge the signed application at a CBS customer service centre, along with the specified fees and any supporting documents indicated in your application.

 

Process Servers

In SA, process servers who serve a writ, summons or other legal process for profit, do not need a licence - however, if you intend to run a business of this type you are required to hold certain qualifications specified in the Security and Investigation Agents Regulations 2011 and should not have been convicted of any crime listed in the regulations.

Tasmania

Interested in entering the industry in Tasmania as a:

  • Collector?
  • Investigator?
  • Process Server?
  • Repossession Agent?

Persons in Tasmania involved in those occupations must be licensed under the Security and Investigations Agents Act 2002 and Security and Investigations Agents Regulations 2005. The responsible regulatory agency is the Department of Justice - Consumer Building and Occupational Services.

A body corporate can apply for the activities of commercial agent and inquiry agent. An "agent body corporate" licence requires a nominated manager holding a Tasmanian licence with the same functions. Each company manager or director undertaking licensed activities must meet the criteria, however, this does not mean each director should be a licensed person, but each director will be assessed as if they are applying for a licence.

An "agent individual" licence allows the holder to employ staff; to work for himself; to operate his own business; and to work for a business or corporation.

An "employee" licence allows the holder to work for someone who holds an agent individual or an agent body corporate licence.

Part 1 Section 3 of the Act details:

  • A commercial agent/sub-agent is licensed to:
    • ascertaining the whereabouts of, or repossessing, a good or chattel that is the subject of a security interest;
    • collect, request or demand payment of debts;
    • execute legal process for the enforcement of a judgment or order of a court;
    • levy distress; and
    • any other prescribed act
  • A inquiry agent/sub-agent is licensed to:
    • obtain and furnish information as to
      • the personal character or actions of any person or
      • the business or occupation of any person;
    • obtain evidence for the purpose of any legal proceedings;
    • search for missing persons; and
    • any other prescribed act (refer Part 1 Section 3 of Act).

The legislation provides for competency based qualifications for commercial agents and inquiry agents who apply for full employee and agent individual licences.

Applying for a licence:

  • Complete the relevant application form
  • Lodge at any Service Tasmania shop with:
    • evidence you have successfully completed all the required training units (this evidence must be attached to the application form)
    • identification documents/evidence (primary and secondary)
    • a National Personal Insolvency Index (bankruptcy report) (for commercial sub-agents only)
    • 2 passport photos witnessed by an adult who has known the applicant for at least 12 months
    • the required fees.

Victoria

Interested in entering the industry in Victoria as a:

  • Collector?
  • Investigator?
  • Process Server?
  • Repossession Agent?

Collectors

Victoria operates with a "negative licensing" scheme for commercial agents in that state.  A licence to be a debt collector is not needed, unless you fall in the category of prohibited persons or corporations, in which case you will need the permission from the Business Licensing Authority to engage in debt collection.

Prohibited persons or corporations

Individuals are prohibited from engaging in debt collection if they:

  • are under 18 years of age
  • are a represented person within the meaning of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986
  • are an insolvent under administration
  • have in the last five years:
    • held a private security licence or registration under the Private Security Act 2004 that was cancelled or suspended
    • been found guilty in Victoria or elsewhere, of an offence involving fraud, dishonesty, drug trafficking or violence punishable by imprisonment of three months or more
    • been found to have been involved in the use of physical force, undue harassment or coercion in contravention of section 12DJ of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Commonwealth) or an equivalent provision in an Act of the Commonwealth, or another State or Territory, or in the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012.

Corporations are prohibited from engaging in debt collection if they:

  • are an externally-administered body corporate
  • are at least one director who is a prohibited person
  • are managed or effectively controlled by a natural person who is a prohibited person
  • have, in the preceding five years, been found to have contravened section 53A(2) or 60 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Commonwealth) while engaging in debt collection.

Prohibited persons or corporations must apply to the Business Licensing Authority for permission to:

  • engage in debt collection
  • be a director of a corporation that engages in debt collection
  • manage or effectively control a corporation that engages in debt collection.

The permission process is not available to anyone under 18 or a represented person within the meaning of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986.

 

Investigators

The relevant licensing legislation is the Victorian Private Security Act 2004 - the industry regulator is the Chief Commissioner of Police (represented by the Licensing Services Division).

Under the Act an Investigator is defined as:

A person who on behalf of another person is employed or retained to obtain and furnish information as to the personal character or actions of any person or as to the character or nature of the business or occupation of any person or alternatively be employed to search for missing persons.

Any person operating as an investigator in Victoria must have a current Private Security Individual Operator licence. Any business providing the services of others who perform such an activity must have a current Private Security Business licence.

For further information contact the Licensing & Regulation Division - Victoria Police on the details below:

Licensing & Regulation Division
Level 4, Tower 3, Victoria Police Centre
637 Flinders Street, Docklands, VIC, 3008
GPO Box 2807, Melbourne, VIC, 3001
Phone: 1300 651 645
Fax: (03) 9247 6485
Email: licensingregulation@police.vic.gov.au

 

Process Servers

Process Servers do not require a licence in Victoria.

 

Repossession Agents

Repossession Agents do not require a licence in Victoria.

Western Australia

Interested in entering the industry in Western Australia as a:

  • Collector?
  • Investigator?
  • Process Server?
  • Repossession Agent?

Collectors

In Western Australia, anyone who carries on the business of, exercises the functions of or in any way holds themselves out to be working as a debt collector or performing any of the functions of a debt collector is required to be licensed as specified under the Debt Collectors Licensing Act 1964.  Conducting business as a debt collector without the appropriate licence is an offence.

The Act defines a debt collector as:

“a person (whether or not he carries on any other business) who on behalf of any other person and for or in expectation of any gain, fee or reward whatever, by whomsoever paid or payable and either on his own account or in conjunction with another, carries on the business of collecting requesting or demanding payment of debts or who advertises or notifies that he carries on that business”

To obtain a licence, you must:

  • Be a 'fit and proper person' to hold a licence; and
  • Be a person of good character and repute.

Your licence application will be referred to the WA Commissioner for Police who will make enquiries into whether you are a suitable person to hold a licence.

Debt Collectors in Western Australia are required to lodge evidence of holding fidelity guarantee cover of either $10,000 in the case of a corporation or $6,000 in the case of a natural person. The IMA issues bonds (fidelity guarantee cover) pursuant to the WA legislation to its members on commercial terms.

Application forms for an individual licence or a company licence can be downloaded from the Department of Consumer website. For further details regarding debt collector licensing in WA contact a licensing officer at the Department on 1300 304 054.

 

Investigators

Any person (including a company) who carries on business as a Private Inquiry Agent or is employed as a Investigator in Western Australia must be licensed under the Security and Related Activities (Control) Act 1996.

The Act provides the following definitions:

Inquiry Agent is “a person who supplies the services of investigators”.

Investigator is “a person who for remuneration conducts –

  • a) investigations into the conduct of individuals or bodies corporate or the character of individuals;
  • b) surveillance work in relation to the matters referred to in paragraph (a); or
  • c) investigations concerning missing persons.”

Licence application forms are available online.

 

Process Servers and Repossession Agents

People wishing to be employed in either of these fields in Western Australia are not required to be licensed under either the Debt Collectors Licensing Act 1964 or the Security and Related Activities (Control) Act 1996, however as a large amount of such work overlaps with private inquiry and collection work the majority of agents choose to hold a licence under the two Acts.


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