The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) has criticised the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG's) proposal on national licensing as lacking 'common sense'.
At its board meeting yesterday, REIA president Peter Bushby said while they welcomed the decision to maintain licensing of commercial agents, common sense needed to be extended to a number of other issues, including the lowering of real estate licence standards.
“It’s simply unacceptable to dumb down qualifications from a diploma level - in four states and territories - to a Certificate IV and to have auctioneers reduce their qualifications from REIA’s recommended 12 units to just three," Mr Bushby said.
“We are also concerned that sales/agents’ representatives will have their qualifications reduced to just four units.”
Mr Bushby explained that not having mandated Compulsory Professional Development (CPD) in the Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (Decision RIS) and lower education standards would lead to an increase in consumer complaints. This would lead to greater costs and increased insurance premiums.
“The impact on consumers has been swept under the carpet,” he said. “The Decision RIS mentions consumers but then comments that any impact on them is difficult to quantify, so they have been excluded from the analysis.
“COAG has ignored the issue of conduct harmonisation, covering operational requirements such as trust accounts in this proposal too. While jurisdictions are operating under different conduct legislation, the full benefits of national licensing won’t be realised. We call for this process, which stalled in July 2011, to be reactivated.”
The REIA wants real estate to be moved to the second tranche of national licensing with the other property occupations, so that matters raised could be adequately addressed, Mr Bushby said.
“REIA will submit a formal response to the Decision RIS and most states and territories will provide their own consultation sessions with stakeholders in coming weeks,” he said.
Following the release of COAG's report earlier this month, a spokesperson from the National Licensing Steering Committee Decision RIS said removing CPD in favour of 'skills maintenance' was a step in the right direction, as it removed irrelevant and forced training for more productive skills maintenance.