A drop in the number of complaints against agents in WA since a continuing professional development (CPD) requirement was made compulsory five years ago is proof it works, and that it must be part of a national licence, the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) has claimed.
“The proof is in the pudding,” said REIA president Pamela Bennett, in relation to a proposal that would see CPD excluded as part of a planned national licence for real estate professionals.
“Since Western Australia introduced mandatory CPD in 2007, written complaints across all categories of real estate activity have dropped by around two thirds.”
According to the REIA, the National Occupational Licensing Authority (NOLA) is proposing to abolish mandatory CPD but have the power to require it be irregularly done at times of major changes to real estate laws, a proposal the REIA rejected on the basis that, according to Ms Bennett, "it shows a lack of knowledge of the profession and creates a bottleneck of centralised decision making".
Currently half the states and territories have mandatory CPD, the REIA said.
Ms Bennett's comments mirror concerns by many in the industry about the final shape of national licensing. In September, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) confirmed that revised national licensing laws will not be reviewed by the industry before they go to the state treasurers for approval. This followed a series of information sessions held across the country, in which many industry stakeholders expressed their dismay over the first draft of the new laws.
CEO of the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) Tim McKibbin slammed the decision at the time, claiming agents can’t trust the government.
“We’re just supposed to trust the COAG with getting it right on their second go, even though the first RIS [regulatory impact statement] was full of flaws?”
Ms Bennett stressed that industry professionals needed CPD to ensure they maintained their skill levels.
“Continuing education ensures up-skilling and development of individuals. Abolishing mandatory CPD would leave the consumer at risk.”
The national licensing regime for real estate professionals is due to come into effect on July 1, 2013.