Auctioneers to suffer from political fallout

Auctioneers in NSW have been caught in the crossfire as the Real Estate Institutes of Australia (REIA) and New South Wales (REINSW) joust over the Australasian Auctioneering Championships.

The winners of the REINSW auctioneering championships in 2012 were ineligible to go through to the national championships, as the REINSW is not a member of the REIA.

However, this year the REIA decided to allow NSW agents to enter the championships, provided they compete via an auctioneering competition held by the Estate Agents Cooperative (EAC), whose membership includes over 300 NSW offices spread across franchise, cooperative and independent businesses. Yet this event is being held on the same day as the REINSW’s auctioneering competition.

“REINSW pulled out and are not part of the national association, so as part of the affiliates council we were asked by the REIA to host the NSW heat,” David Crombie, CEO of the EAC told Real Estate Business.

While auctioneers were at first relieved to hear they were again eligible to enter the national titles, they quickly learnt that political infighting between the institutes may have left them with an ultimatum.

Tim McKibbin, CEO of the REINSW, told Real Estate Business that he was quite confused when he found out that the championships had been scheduled for the same day.

“EAC and REIA have selected the same day to have their championships as we have. I couldn’t tell you why they’ve made this decision, but the ultimate losers in all this are the auctioneers,” Mr McKibbin said.

Previous winner of the REINSW awards for excellence in auctioneering, Damien Cooley, said he was disgusted by the shafting of NSW representatives for the second year in a row.

“How ridiculous, I can tell you that Cooley Auctions will not be entering the EAC competition," he said.

“The Australasian Auctioneering Competition needs to work out their political differences with NSW, and Cooley Auctions will not be entering until such time as that happens.”

President of the REIA, Peter Bushby, claimed the date clash was not deliberate.

“We weren’t aware of their date when ours was set, but the fact that it’s conflicting will mean that people will just have to make the decision whether they want to enter the national competition or if they’ll be in the state competition," he said.

“It was certainly nothing spiteful from our point of view, just a coincidence. But our judges were already booked from interstate, so we couldn’t change it.”

Mr McKibbin claimed the REINSW couldn’t change their date for the same reason, and admitted that bad blood between the institutes was hurting the industry.

Mr Crombie also said he was aware of the date clash.

“We will work with [auctioneers] when we’re putting together our timetable for the day, so for example they can go to the REINSW in the morning and come to ours in the afternoon, so we’re more than happy to try and accommodate them," he said.

“We discussed it with our judges, and those auctioneers who are serious will want a chance at a national title, not just a state-based title that will go nowhere.”

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