Steven Cross and Simon Parker
Auctioneering finalists from NSW will not be invited to attend the Australasian Auctioneering Championships this year.
A letter from Pamela Bennett, the president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA), was issued to the relevant finalists last week stating, “The winner and runner-up of the REINSW competition will not be eligible to participate in this year’s national Championships.”
“REINSW is not and has not been a member of the REIA for over two years," the letter continued. "On 24 September 2011, REIA wrote to REINSW formally inviting the institute to reaffiliate with REIA … there has been no positive response to our invitation.”
Ms Bennett wrote that had the invitation been accepted by the REINSW, the auctioneers would be able to participate.
However, a spokesperson from the REIA said despite the letter coming from them, the final decision was made by the host of the 2012 Championships, the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA).
Greg Moulton, president of the REISA, told Real Estate Business that while he would have loved to have had the NSW auctioneers in attendance, the decision to exclude them was “very clear cut”.
Until the REINSW becomes a member of the REIA, he said, they shouldn’t be allowed to attend REIA-supported events.
“If you aren’t a member, then this is the consequence,” he said, likening it to somebody wanting to attend something that they weren't prepared to pay for. “I should be redirecting you back to the REINSW board [for their reason on not being a REIA member].”
He added that it was the REIV’s decision to invite NSW-based auctioneers to the 2011 event, which was held in Melbourne, even though the REINSW wasn’t a member of the REIA at the time.
Charles Powell, from Charles Powell Auction Services, was one of the NSW finalists who now won't be attending the event.
“It’s a disappointment, but the decision is way above my head … I went last year,” he told Real Estate Business.
Mr Powell was ranked in the top five at last year’s national championships.
Another NSW-based finalist, Damien Cooley, of Cooley Auctions, sent a letter to Mr Moulton, requesting that he reconsider his decision.
“The Australasian Auctioneering Championship in my view is an opportunity for all auctioneers in Australasia to test their skills against the best," the letter said. "To exclude NSW not only denies the NSW auctioneers that opportunity, it also denies the other auctioneers in the competition the opportunity to compete against NSW auctioneers.”
Just two auctioneers from NSW have won the Auctioneering Championships since it started in 1993, when it was run every two years (it's now an annual event), namely McGrath Estate Agents CEO, John McGrath, and McGrath Estate Agents' chief auctioneer, Scott Kennedy Green.
A spokesperson from REINSW said the situation was unfortunate.
“We’re currently in negotiations and trying to allow our finalists into the Australasian championship," the spokesperson said.
“It’s a shame that disagreements between the bodies is affecting some of the country’s best auctioneers, not allowing them to be part of the national championships.”
Mr Moulton said he planned to respond to Mr Cooley's letter.