Become an introduction agent

Definition

An introduction agent is a person or company in the business of offering an introduction service that aims to match or provide individuals’ details for personal relationships or social outings.

From 1 July 2011, introduction agents are no longer required to be registered.

However, if you fall into the category of disqualified persons or corporations, you must obtain permission from the Business Licensing Authority to act as an introduction agent.

This includes introduction agents who registered before 1 July 2011.

Disqualified persons or corporations

Individuals must not act as an introduction agent if they are:

  • under 18 years of age
  • an insolvent under administration
  • a represented person within the meaning of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986
  • a licensee or an approved manager under the Sex Work Act 1994

Individuals also must not act as an introduction agent if they have in the preceding 5 years been found guilty of an offence:

  • involving fraud, dishonesty, drug trafficking or violence punishable by imprisonment of three months or more whether the offence occurred in Australia or elsewhere
  • under the Introduction Agents Act 1997 or an equivalent offence in another jurisdiction
  • under Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012, or an equivalent offence in another jurisdiction, in providing or offering to provide an introduction service

Corporations must not act as an introduction agent if:

  • one or more of its directors is disqualified from acting as an introduction agent
  • it is an externally-administered body corporate.

A body corporate must also not act as an introduction agent if within the last 5 years it has:

  • been found guilty of an offence involving fraud, dishonesty, drug trafficking or violence punishable by imprisonment of three months or more whether the offence occurred in Australia or elsewhere
  • been found guilty of an offence under the Introduction Agents Act 1997 or an equivalent offence in another jurisdiction
  • been found guilty of an offence under the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012, or an equivalent offence in another jurisdiction, in providing or offering to provide an introduction service

Permission

If you are disqualified from acting as an introduction agent and are not under the age of 18, or a represented person within the meaning of the Guardianship and Administrative Act 1986, or a brothel licensee or approved manager, you must apply to the Business Licensing Authority for permission to:

  • act as an introduction agent
  • be a director of a corporation that acts as an introduction agent.

The Business Licensing Authority may give its permission if it is satisfied that it is not contrary to the public interest for it to do so. It may also impose conditions on this permission if it considers it appropriate to ensure the ongoing protection of the public interest.

To apply for permission you are required to complete and lodge the Application for permission – introduction agents (Word, 766KB). Lodgement details are on the form.

Public interest

In considering whether granting permission would be contrary to the public interest, the Business Licensing Authority must weigh the public interest in the maintenance of standards in the industry and the protection of the public in its dealing with introduction agents, against the factors relevant to the individual making the application.

Such factors could include an applicant's age, the nature and seriousness of an offence (if applicable), the applicant's remorse in the case of an offence (if applicable), the circumstances surrounding the reason why the applicant is prohibited, and the applicant's conduct and subsequent behaviour.

Exemptions

Under the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012, you are not acting as an introduction agent if you:

  • provide the activity for a community purpose
  • there is no significant  commercial purpose or profit for you or any other person
  • are publishing or making available details of people seeking a personal or social relationship with one or more other people, whether in print or electronic media and are enabling persons to make contact with the persons supplying the details
  • are an information provider who publishes or supplies details of people seeking relationships and:
    • you have no direct contact with the people seeking relationship
    • the people receiving the information are not obliged to use your service again
    • you provide your service for a fee of less than $250
  • are organising a social activity (such as a dance) with the intention of enabling people to meet, and:
    • the activity is publicly advertised and is open to any member of the public willing to pay the admission cost, that being the only cost an attendee is obliged to pay the organiser; and
    • no attendee is placed under any obligation to the organiser other than that concerning the attendee’s conduct at the activity.
  • provide a sex work service as a licensee or approved manager under the Sex Work Act 1994
  • provide a means that enables another person to offer to provide an introduction service.

Penalties for operating as an introduction agent if disqualified

If you provide or offer to provide an introduction service and are disqualified from acting as an introduction agent, penalties may apply. View our Penalties – introduction agents page.

Last updated: 17/05/2014

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