The audience at the latest national licensing information session in Adelaide ‘loudly objected’ to the government’s claims that almost $80 million will be saved by deregulating parts of the industry, an attendee has claimed.
During the information session in Adelaide earlier this week, Raine & Horne SA CEO Kevin Magee said the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) presented cost and benefit savings for national licensing of $78.73 million per annum.
Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) CEO Greg Troughton, who also attended the meeting, said the state-based institutes disputed the savings figure.
"When I saw that figure, I just had to stand up and say, 'With all due respect, it has to be on the record that the state-based REIs all strongly question these figures', and even if [the author of the number] KPMG is right, they haven't taken into account the detriment to the consumer."
"I strongly hope that my counterparts in the other states do the same."
The claim comes shortly after sales and marketing director for the Independent Property Group (IPG) in Canberra, John Minns, said COAG and the National Occupational Licensing Authority (NOLA) - the two bodies responsible for implementing national licensing for real estate agents - appeared to have a set opinion prior to the information session held in Canberra last week.
Mr Magee told Real Estate Business that COAG was also unable to answer some questions about the benefits of the proposed regime.
“They began the session saying all the changes were to benefit both the consumer and the industry… but when asked by the audience, ‘What are the benefits of the introduction of NOLA to the South Australian consumer?’, they were unable to answer the question," he said.
“After going blank, and passing the microphone to one another, their response was that the steering committee was not focused on the consumer, but charged with the set up of licensing that removes unnecessary exclusive burdens and affects mobility across borders.”
In Victoria, Elders Real Estate state manager Geoff White said the information session in Melbourne, held on September 11, proved to be beneficial.
“I sincerely hope that COAG took some of our concerns on board … a few times they said, ‘We hadn’t thought of that’, which is a good sign,” he said.
Victoria currently requires three units for an agent’s representative licence, which will be raised under national licencing to five units, while in South Australia the proposed new licensing laws will see this requirement lowered from 24 units.
And while Mr Magee believed this is 'dumbing down the industry', Mr White thinks it's the proposed deregulation of commercial real estate - agents in this part of the industry won't require licensing under the propsoed new regime - will have a greater impact.
“It’s not dumbing down the industry, it’s just opening the floodgates which is not in the best interests of the consumer,” said Mr White.
Upcoming information sessions are as follows:
Sydney: Quay Grand Suites, 61 Macquarie Street, East Circular Quay, 14 September, 1pm-4.30pm
Hobart: The Old Woolstore, 1 Macquarie Street, 19 September, 9am-12.30pm
Brisbane: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Grey Street, Plaza Level, 21 September, 1pm-4.30pm
Perth: Mercure Perth, 10 Irwin Street, Perth, September 25, 9.30am-12.30pm
To register your interest in attending these sessions, click here.
If you’d like to have your say about the Consultation Regulation Impact Statements, click here. Submissions must be received by 21 September 2012.