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Common Sense Lacking In National Licensing Proposal

23 Jul 13

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) Board has reiterated its opposition to the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) proposal to dilute standards within the real estate profession, as documented in its Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (DRIS) on national licensing.

Following the REIA Board meeting this morning, President Mr Peter Bushby said, "While we welcome the decision to maintain licensing of commercial agents, common sense needs to be extended to a number of other issues."

"It’s simply unacceptable to dumb down qualifications from a Diploma level (in four states and territories) to a Certificate IV and to have auctioneers reduce their qualifications from REIA’s recommended 12 units to just three."

"We are also concerned that sales/agents’ representatives will have their qualifications reduced to just four units."

"There’s no mandated Compulsory Professional Development in the DRIS and lower education standards will potentially lead to a greater number of consumer complaints, which naturally leads to greater costs and will inevitably increase insurance premiums."

"The impact on consumers has been swept under the carpet. The Decision RIS mentions consumers but then comments that any impact on them is difficult to quantify, so they have been excluded from the analysis," added Mr Bushby.

"COAG has ignored the issue of conduct harmonisation, covering operational requirements such as trust accounts, in this proposal too. While jurisdictions are operating under different conduct legislation, the full benefits of national licensing won’t be realised. We call for this process, which stalled in July 2011, to be reactivated."

"The DRIS recognises the conduct harmonisation issue but still persists on pushing through its half-baked proposals. Surely, there is an argument for the deferment of national licensing for property until conduct harmonisation is addressed."

"REIA wants real estate to be moved to the second tranche of national licensing with the other property occupations so that the matters raised can be adequately addressed – something that has not yet been done."

"REIA will submit a formal response to the DRIS and most states and territories will provide their own consultation sessions with stakeholders in coming weeks," concluded Mr Bushby.