The Council of Small Business of Australia has linked arms with the Real Estate Institute of Australia to stand up against proposed reforms to the real estate licencing.
The reforms, put forward by the Council of Australian Governments’ in July, propose blanket licencing standards for real estate agents nationally.
The 264-page Decision Regulatory Impact Statement outlined national reforms to improve cost and efficiency and cut red tape. It aimed to allow property agents to work across jurisdictions without needing to meet differing licensing standards.
COSBOA and REIA and calling on the Standing Council on Federal Financial Relations to vote ‘no’ to the proposal, which is part of a series of industry reforms suggested by the National Occupational Licensing Authority.
At the time of the announcement, REIA president Peter Bushby said he was “bitterly disappointed” with the proposals, which he argued will “dilute standards within the real estate profession”.
Today, COSBOA executive director Peter Strong said the proposed changes will lower the education standards of the real estate profession. He said the small businesses who rely on agents for property advice and support will be disadvantaged.
“Small business owners rely on real estate agents to negotiate, buy and sell personal or commercial property on their behalf,” he said in a statement.
“They trust that the agent will have professional and up to date access to information, and therefore better placed in matters of property and real estate.
“The proposed changes will see a drop in the education and professional development requirements of real estate agents, placing not just Aussie families but business owners at greater risk from inadequately trained and under-qualified real estate agents.”
REIA chief executive Amanda Lynch said the DRIS proposal will lead to a “dumbing down” of the industry.
“The unsatisfactory consultation process, lack of consideration for the various conduct regulations, the bundling together of the Real Estate profession with trades and lack of economic benefits from these changes are just some of the problems we see with this proposal,” she said.
The proposal said that there are “up to eight different approaches to setting licensing requirements around the country” that it aimed to condense.
“Different licence classifications, training requirements, licence periods and licence structures commonly apply. These inconsistencies impose costs on those businesses that operate in more than one jurisdiction,” it said.
The review into the real estate industry is part of the National Occupational Licensing Scheme reform, which will see a series of industries reviewed, with the aim of commencing national licensing in 2014.
Other industries under review include plumbing, gasfitters, air-conditioning and refrigeration.