The state is eliminating the government subsidy for continuing education in the real estate sector as part of a big shake-up to the program.
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Now, agents will be required to self-fund the professional development they undertake to maintain their real estate licence.
First introduced in 2011, the state’s continuing professional development (CPD) program currently requires real estate agents to accumulate 10 CPD points, and settlement agents six CPD points, from a combination of mandatory and elective training activities each year.
For real estate agents, seven of those points are self-funded and while three mandatory points are funded by the government.
The state is now proposing halving the CPD requirements to five points for real estate agents, and bringing the requirements of settlement agents in line, while all of the costs will be paid for by the professional.
A 24-month transition period is proposed from January 2024 to allow sufficient time for industry participants to adjust to self-funding, and make changes to their CPD activities to accommodate the new requirements.
The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) welcomed the news of the CPD requirement updates, particularly as ongoing discussion about the program’s future has left some agents confused as to their obligations.
“There has been ongoing uncertainty around the future of the CPD program for many years now with erroneous suggestions that it could be scrapped altogether likely a significant contributor to the number of practitioners who haven’t started their CPD yet,” REIWA’s CEO, Cath Hart, said.
The institute revealed that 67 per cent of licensed real estate agents and 69 per cent of registered sales representatives and property managers have yet to do any CPD this year.
Moreover, according to Ms Hart, the updated requirements reflect both the needs of consumers and industry professionals alike.
“Our surveys of public sentiment over many years have repeatedly confirmed that WA consumers were concerned about proposals to remove CPD requirements for real estate practitioners,” she said.
“The majority of REIWA members surveyed earlier this year also expressed their overwhelming support for an ongoing requirement for CPD in order to maintain professional standards, protect consumers and enhance the reputation of the industry as a whole.”
The state’s Commerce Minister Sue Ellery said she was glad to see a positive response to the updates.
“It is pleasing to see broad sector support for a program that protects consumers and promotes consumer confidence in the real estate and settlement industries.”
And while she noted that the subsidy for funding CPD would come to an end, the state’s consumer protection body would still be heavily invested in the program.
“Consumer Protection will continue to support the industry by determining broad CPD subject areas, providing educational materials, and the commissioner to retain the power to specify mandatory topics or activities on an ad hoc basis,” Ms Ellery said.
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