National membership not worth $260,000 bill: REIQ

Queensland’s institute has called for the Real Estate Institute of Australia to become “member-focused and more efficient” after quitting the national body.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland chairman Rob Honeycombe confirmed the organisation has now left the REIA, effective March 30, after Real Estate Business reported last month its resignation was imminent.

Mr Honeycombe told REIQ members in a letter that Queensland was not getting value for money on the $260,000 in annual contributions it makes to the national body.

“Our resignation from REIA was not a decision your board took lightly, but we will not continue spending your member funds where we do not see sufficient return on investment,” he said.

“Businesses need to evolve – our agencies do this continually. REIQ must do this, too. Similarly, we think it’s time for REIA to return to a member-focused and more efficient organisation.”

Mr Honeycombe said there have been ongoing discussions about changes to the REIA since NSW left the national body in 2012.

“In March 2014, the REIQ asked the other real estate institutes to consider the option of a smaller, more efficient REIA team with a sole focus on lobbying and policy,” he said.

“As a board member of REIA, I continued this conversation at all REIA meetings during 2014 and again earlier last month when the REIA board met in Perth.

“Despite initial resistance, we’re really encouraged the real estate institutes have now agreed to come together this month – importantly, with NSW representatives – to explore a new model for the national body.”

Mr Honeycombe said Queensland retained strong links with the other states and would work with them to find a solution that would allow it to be part of an effective national body.

REIA president Neville Sanders told Real Estate Business that he respected Queensland’s decision and that there are still good lines of communication between the two boards.

Mr Sanders also said the REIA is a progressive organisation that is open to change.

“If we do certain things in a certain way now, that doesn’t mean to say that it’s necessarily the best way or only way,” he said.

“If different member states have a view of things being done in a different matter, we’re always prepared to listen.”

Meanwhile, it is unclear whether any other states or territories are contemplating following the lead of Queensland and NSW and leaving the national body.

Real Estate Business emailed the other six institutes to ask if they had plans to leave the REIA. Victoria said it was “committed to the REIA moving forward”. South Australia referred the query to the REIA. The other institutes declined to comment or failed to respond.

Mr Sanders said last month that he had no reason to believe other states were planning to break away.

[Related: REIQ slammed for ‘extremely short-sighted’ decision]

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