With the National Occupational Licensing Authority (NOLA) set to be disbanded from early 2014, the industry is now at a crossroads as to the direction of national licensing.
According to the director of Industry Training Consultants George Rousos, the next logical step was the national harmonisation of real estate conduct.
“Talking about the mutual recognition of the licences is good, but you've got to harmonise the conduct side of the industry before you get the licensing side of it because without doing that, you can't have proper policing and property administering of the licensing. Until we see a national framework, we are just bashing our heads against a wall,” he said.
Although there has been strong lobbying in the past five years to create a national framework, the challenge is to bring the different parties together and to reach an agreement.
“There’s not a lot of leadership within the government or political ranks to drive it," Mr Rousos said.
“Everyone is on the one page but it's about people getting together and talking about it. We should be getting together in a forum-like manner with bureaucrats and then hopefully moving towards a bill and introducing that bill in parliament."
Mr Rousus said he was in favour of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) entering into partnership agreements with the states and territories to regulate the industry.
“ASIC and APRA need to look at playing a role in overseeing the conduct side of the housing market,” he said.
“There needs to be a police figure looking at disclosure and the behaviour of the industry, and obviously there needs to be standards - so you've got to meet certain entry level requirements. It's all intertwined with that. Until we see something like that rolled out, it will never change. It will be the way it is and the way it has been.”
CEO of Belle Property Peter Hanscomb said the industry needed to move towards a more consistent model across the whole country. Ideally, there would be one central organisation to negotiate with the government.
“Unfortunately, there’s such a fragmented communication between the institutes and the industry it makes it very hard to see that there will be some meaningful national process set up because everyone has different views," he said. "I think there’s a general reluctance from all the institutes in the country to talk about this problem.”