Tug-of-war for national representation of NSW

Steven Cross

The Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) said it has demonstrated that state-based bodies can address national issues, after holding a meeting with federal opposition leader Tony Abbott about changes to planned national licensing laws for real estate agents.

Last week, REINSW vice president John Cunningham met with Mr Abbott to voice the Institute’s concerns at a national level.

“During the course of the meeting, the current standing of property professionals was discussed, as well as where the industry is heading and the problems likely to arise should the National Occupational Licensing System (NOLS) be allowed to go ahead without a significant overhaul.

“We felt it was important to let Mr Abbott know that industry stakeholders across the country are in favour of higher standards of real estate practice,” Mr Cunningham said.

“However, as it stands, NOLS is instead proposing to lower standards, which will only bring about poor consumer outcomes in the future.”

According to Mr Cunningham, the opposition leader took note of the industry's concerns.

“Mr Abbott agreed that NOLS may need to be reassessed,” Mr Cunningham said. “As he said, sometimes what seems like a great idea at the time does not end up that way.”

The news comes as the REIA launched an 'Affiliates Council' to help bolster its ties with the industry, with its first three members made up of networks The Professionals, the Estate Agents Cooperative (EAC) and First National.

“Part of the role of the REIA Affiliates’ Council is to have REIA board representation and participation in ongoing discussions and updates on issues and submissions REIA prepares,” Amanda Lynch, CEO of the REIA, said.

The REIA has been active in its opposition to some aspects of the proposed national licensing legislation, particularly in relation to continuing professional development (CPD), commercial real estate licensing and entry level qualifications.

Ms Lynch and REIA president Peter Bushby was due to preside over the Affiliates’ Council meeting this week, with the agenda focused on the industry’s opposition to diluting standards with national licensing, tax reform, a fair and consistent approach to buyers of established dwellings with the first home owner grant and the need for national tenancy laws.

Dale Whittaker, chairman of EAC, said the NSW representation gap has now been filled with the inclusion of the co-operative into the Affiliates Council. The REINSW is currently the only state institute not affiliated with the REIA.

“EAC is pleased to be associated with the national institute for the real estate profession and looks forward to working with the REIA and other affiliate members to ensure that the interests of EAC members and practitioners in NSW are protected,” he said.

“We are actively working with government bodies at a state level and the board of EAC recognises the importance of having representation at a national level, as we face issues such as the introduction of national licensing.”

CEO of the REINSW, Tim McKibbin told Real Estate Business that despite not being a member of the REIA, the REINSW has taken the fight to Canberra themselves.

“We represent our members' interests at both a state and national level; you need look no further than these discussions with Tony Abbott to see that. From this you can see we’re representing our members' interests more than adequately.”

Mr Abbott’s team is looking into the issue of national licensing, and he asked the REINSW to keep him up to date with any progress made in the fight against its implementation.

Steven Cross

The Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) said it has demonstrated that state-based bodies can address national issues, after holding a meeting with federal opposition leader Tony Abbott about changes to planned national licensing laws for real estate agents.

Last week, REINSW vice president John Cunningham met with Mr Abbott to voice the Institute’s concerns at a national level.

“During the course of the meeting, the current standing of property professionals was discussed, as well as where the industry is heading and the problems likely to arise should the National Occupational Licensing System (NOLS) be allowed to go ahead without a significant overhaul.

“We felt it was important to let Mr Abbott know that industry stakeholders across the country are in favour of higher standards of real estate practice,” Mr Cunningham said.

“However, as it stands, NOLS is instead proposing to lower standards, which will only bring about poor consumer outcomes in the future.”

According to Mr Cunningham, the opposition leader took note of the industry's concerns.

“Mr Abbott agreed that NOLS may need to be reassessed,” Mr Cunningham said. “As he said, sometimes what seems like a great idea at the time does not end up that way.”

The news comes as the REIA launched an 'Affiliates Council' to help bolster its ties with the industry, with its first three members made up of networks The Professionals, the Estate Agents Cooperative (EAC) and First National.

“Part of the role of the REIA Affiliates’ Council is to have REIA board representation and participation in ongoing discussions and updates on issues and submissions REIA prepares,” Amanda Lynch, CEO of the REIA, said.

The REIA has been active in its opposition to some aspects of the proposed national licensing legislation, particularly in relation to continuing professional development (CPD), commercial real estate licensing and entry level qualifications.

Ms Lynch and REIA president Peter Bushby was due to preside over the Affiliates’ Council meeting this week, with the agenda focused on the industry’s opposition to diluting standards with national licensing, tax reform, a fair and consistent approach to buyers of established dwellings with the first home owner grant and the need for national tenancy laws.

Dale Whittaker, chairman of EAC, said the NSW representation gap has now been filled with the inclusion of the co-operative into the Affiliates Council. The REINSW is currently the only state institute not affiliated with the REIA.

“EAC is pleased to be associated with the national institute for the real estate profession and looks forward to working with the REIA and other affiliate members to ensure that the interests of EAC members and practitioners in NSW are protected,” he said.

“We are actively working with government bodies at a state level and the board of EAC recognises the importance of having representation at a national level, as we face issues such as the introduction of national licensing.”

CEO of the REINSW, Tim McKibbin told Real Estate Business that despite not being a member of the REIA, the REINSW has taken the fight to Canberra themselves.

“We represent our members' interests at both a state and national level; you need look no further than these discussions with Tony Abbott to see that. From this you can see we’re representing our members' interests more than adequately.”

Mr Abbott’s team is looking into the issue of national licensing, and he asked the REINSW to keep him up to date with any progress made in the fight against its implementation.

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