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REIACT hosts the first Australian Auslan interpreted Auctioneering Championships

The Real Estate Institute of the Australian Capital Territory (REIACT) has hosted the first Australian Auslan interpreted Auctioneering Championships, in a push to make auctions more accessible and build awareness for hearing-impaired home buyers.

A group of seven auctioneers competed for the title, while an interpreter helped communicate the action using Auslan.

REIACT Chief Executive Officer, Maria Edwards said the Institute was delighted to show leadership for this important initiative. 

“We had seven novice auctioneers competing in the interpreted auction, all of whom have embraced auctions being more inclusive and accessible and were looking forward to competing with the amazing Expression Australia Auslan interpreters present,” Ms Edwards said.

“One in six Australians have some form of hearing loss and may need an Auslan interpreter standing with the auctioneer to be able to participate in a property transaction ‘under the hammer’.

“We are delighted to have been able to work with the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) and Expression Australia as a first step in allowing access and inclusion for the Deaf and hard of hearing community in a property auction.”

The novice auctioneers in the competition included Zac Cunningham, Adam Jones, Elizabeth McLeod, Charles Martin, Naomi Sachs, Stephanie Steenbuck and Brianna Williams.

While ​​Mark Quinn was the Auslan Interpreter.

Blackshaw Gungahlin sales agent Adam Jones competed and said auctioneering is something he’s always had an interest in after growing up on a farm that sold a lot of cattle.

He said the event went incredibly well with the help of the Auslan interpreter.

“I think it’s a great benefit to people with hearing impairments,” Mr Jones said.

“It was quite a successful day and there were a number of people in the crowd who were utilising that service.”

He said on any given auction day, there could be someone in the crowd that you don’t realise has a hearing impairment, so when they’ve got that assistance from an Auslan interpreter it’s a huge benefit.

“It might draw a lot more people in the future if they’re able to accommodate more people,” Mr Jones said.

REIA President Hayden Groves said making the auction process more accessible is something the industry is passionate about.

“The REIACT’s Auslan competition was a great moment in auctioneering history,” Mr Groves said.

“We are committed to enabling all members of our community to participate in all things property. 

“Accessible real estate transactions are obviously an important component to this, and working to include the Deaf and hard of hearing community is a great step toward that commitment.” 

Expression Australia Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Adam said this was an innovative step and brings a level of communication for the Deaf and hard of hearing community not experienced previously. 

“Expression Australia, REIACT and REIA have a long and rich history of providing the best services to the community,” Ms Adams said.

“Together we will be a part of the first steps to bring Auslan into the real estate industry, through industry best practice for the Deaf and hard of hearing community and an ongoing Deaf awareness and capacity building program for real estate agents.”

The winner of the novice section of the auctioneering championships will be named at a REIACT event on September 15.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.