The Coalition has described the Labor Party’s implementation of the National Occupational Licensing System (NOLS) as "poor", in a letter to the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW).
“The Coalition is supportive of the stated aims of national licensing,” federal campaign director Brian Loughnane wrote to REINSW last week.
“However, implementation has been poor. Labor has made little progress in relation to national licensing of property occupations, and there has been inadequate communication and collaboration with states and territories and key stakeholders.
“The important thing is that national occupational licensing achieves its aims, but without reducing consumer protection or creating unreasonable new or additional requirements such as compliance costs.”
REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said it was gratifying to know the Coalition recognised the threat that NOLS posed to the real estate profession, the property market and consumers.
“It was important to let Mr Abbott and the Coalition know that industry stakeholders across the country are dissatisfied with the current direction of NOLS,” he said.
“In our representations to Mr Abbott, we made it clear we believe national licensing should not be allowed to proceed on its current path.
“As it currently stands, NOLS will lower professional standards and as a result, will damage the market and consumer confidence.”
The topic of national licensing is currently the focus at the International Federation of Real Estate (FIABCI) Asia Pacific Real Estate Congress (APREC) being held in Singapore.
FIABCI world president elect for 2014/2015 Robyn Waters addressed the congress yesterday, presenting on the regulatory framework for real estate agency practice in Australia.
“Many, including the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA), are worried that in pursuit of a national system, a dumbing down of entry level qualifications as put forward in the [Council of Australian Governments'] model will be to the detriment of both the profession and consumers,” she said.
“REIA, in the past, has been supportive of national licensing, but not at the cost of consumer protection.”
Ms Water said agent licensing levels would drop, resulting in increased consumer risk and a lowering of professional standards.
“We also do not want to see the abolition of ongoing professional development as it would result in many practitioners not participating in legislative updates, which are pertinent to their area of real estate practice," she said.
Ms Waters emphasised the important role of real estate agents, adding that many families and small businesses trusted them with their biggest investments.