Industry leader calls for better regulation

A real estate institute has started lobbying the government to appoint a dedicated property commissioner.

Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) chief executive Tim McKibbin told REB that real estate needs a specialist regulator because it is “unquestionably the most important industry” in the state.

“If this was private enterprise, the biggest client you had in your business would receive your maximum focus,” he said.

“Government is dependent on a healthy and vibrant property market for its revenue. Yet many property areas are consolidated within Fair Trading, and Fair Trading has in excess of 40 pieces of legislation that it administers.”

Mr McKibbin said other sectors, such as law, have dedicated commissioners – and that by specialising they are able to attain more knowledge and build better relationships.

By contrast, real estate professionals, as well as vendors and buyers, suffer because the industry doesn’t have a dedicated overseer, he added.

Mr McKibbin said the institute had raised the idea of a property commissioner in the past, but that it would now lobby for one in earnest.

“We had preliminary discussions with government on this last year, but at this stage we haven’t put in a formal submission. That will happen in the next couple of months,” he said.

“We’re in negotiations with other property representative bodies, and speaking with those groups to take on their concerns. Once that consultation has been completed, that’s when we would be in a position to take something to government to consider.”

Mr McKibbin said he was also open to the idea of a national commissioner, although the institute would fight one battle at a time.

One of the issues a state commissioner would be expected to look at would be education and training, which REINSW has repeatedly condemned as inadequate.

Former REINSW president Malcolm Gunning told REB in December 2014 that members would form a political party if the government failed to address their concerns around this issue. Mr Gunning said a candidate had even been chosen to run at the 2019 election.

Mr McKibbin said the potential move into politics would be decided by the new board, which took office in November and will hold its first meeting later this month.

[Related: REINSW slams ‘woeful’ education levels]

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