Steven Cross and Stacey Moseley
A 14-year-old would be able to oversee the transaction of millions of dollars’ worth of stock and rural land if the proposed national licensing laws pass in their current state, COAG confirmed in Sydney on Friday.
Under the proposed national licensing laws, stock and station agent licensing would be abolished, allowing anyone to legally sell rural properties greater than 20 hectares in size - as the law currently applies in NSW - without a licence.
Stock and station-type property sales would be viewed as commercial transactions, and as such the agents involved in these deals won't require a licence under the new national regime.
Attendees at the information forum also pointed out that there wouldn't be a minimum age requirement to sell rural properties.
Andy Madigan, CEO of the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association, was part of the advisory committee who helped draft the RIS, and had found a number of changes he was not aware of.
“I represent 1,200 businesses around Australia and I was also part of the advisory committee who were told in August of 2011 to wrap up proceedings because the regulatory impact statement (RIS) had to be finalised,” he said during question and answer time.
“We are now in September of 2012 and when I flick through this document I see things that I don’t ever remember talking about. What is the point of having an advisory committee if you are not taking our advice on board?
“You are ruining a much regulated legitimate business for what gain? I do not know.
“If you de-register agents there will be no protection for the consumer and what is more, agents with current qualifications will be disadvantaged by anyone, of any age, who wakes up one day and wants to start selling property.”
Mr Madigan claimed that $9 billion worth of real property passed through real estate agents last year, while $11 billion passed through stock and rural land agents.
However, Angus Nardi from the Shopping Centre Council of Australia, who represents Westfield, Centro and AMP, supported the deregulation of commercial licensing laws.
“We wholeheartedly support the commercial property deregistery,” he said.
Yet while the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) acknowledged that agents around the country had problems with the RIS, it implored agents to submit their problems in writing.
COAG told Real Estate Business that they are listening to the issues raised, but stressed that nothing can be done unless it is put in writing or submitted on the online form which can be found here.