The president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) has slammed a recent email from the National Occupational Licensing Board (NOLA) as condescending and inaccurate.
Chair of NOLA Elizabeth Crouch wrote to agents last month, clarifying confusion around the Decision Regulation Impact Statements (RISs), particularly in regards to continuing professional development (CPD).
“Decision RISs generally outline regulatory options that offer the greatest net public benefit,” she wrote.
“They do not represent final or agreed policy, but instead are just one element in a package of advice that will go to treasurers who are members of the Standing Council on Federal Financial Relations.”
Ms Crouch explained that contrary to media reports, CPD would continue under the proposed licensing scheme.
“However, unlike a fixed hours system, CPD will be more flexible and targeted, allowing for NOLA to respond to emerging industry and/or consumer issues,” she said.
“This more targeted approach will relieve the costs and burden of having to undertake courses purely to build up required CPD hours without reference to the need or value of that training.”
President of REIWA David Airey said NOLA’s “flexible and targeted” approach was flawed and contradictory.
“It was a patronising and inaccurate email that incorrectly represented the facts about aspects of national licensing that will affect real estate agents, such as the issue of CPD and in particular, educational qualifications,” he told Real Estate Business.
Ms Crouch wrote that an aim of national licensing was to “licence people for the skills needed to undertake work in each occupation, while minimising risks to consumers”.
However, Mr Airey said the proposal would not benefit any consumers.
“It will reduce standards and mean that unqualified, poorly educated people will easily enter into real estate for the quick-buck approach, which is exactly the sort of thing we’ve spent many years trying to get rid of,” he said.
Mr Airey said REIWA had been lobbying the Western Australia government and he was confident they would not approve the current proposal.
“I think that will apply in other states because the claimed savings are not savings," he said.
"They’re inaccurate and NOLA have already withdrawn or clarified their claim that there was some $60 million in savings.
“We think the governments will generally look to the institutes in each state to ask what is the best.”
NOLA has argued that CPD had no value to the industry, a claim that many agents have criticised.
Most recently, a Western Australian agent embroiled in a major scam told Real Estate Business CPD had helped him catch a Nigerian fraudster.
“If it wasn’t for the training and the compulsory professional development of [REIWA] members, we would not have been able to identify these potential fraudsters and scammers,” director of Mandurah Estate Agency Ken Murphy said.
“The real estate profession and industry has improved through CPD in many states and as a result, we were able to identify these problems before they arose.”