REIA fires up against national licensing reform for real estate agents

The Real Estate Institute of Australia has reacted fiercely to the Council of Australian Governments’ proposed new national licensing standards for real estate agents.

REIA president Peter Bushby was “bitterly disappointed” with the proposed reforms, which he argued will “dilute standards within the real estate profession”, he said in a statement.

On Friday, COAG released a 264-page Decision Regulatory Impact Statement, in which it outlined national reforms for the real estate industry, 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.

The report outlined that there are “up to eight different approaches to setting licensing requirements around the country”.

“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,” the report said.

The REIA dispute the standardisation of the minimum education requirements for real estate agents, from the Diploma Level currently required in some states, to a Certificate IV.

For auctioneers, the report proposed a required three units of study, down from the REIA’s recommendation of 12 units.

Bushby said the reform lacked mandated professional development, as currently stands in four states and territories, “and no certainty over how the licensing of commercial agents will operate”.

He said consumers would suffer if these national standards of licencing were established.
“If COAG continues on this path, the biggest risk is to the consumer. I simply do not understand why the needs of the Australian public have not been taken into account in this process.”

Bushby stated the REIA would prefer a national licensing system that requires real estate agents to achieve a diploma level for licensing, and one that requires compulsory continuing professional development and licensing for commercial agency work.

The review 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.

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