Draft national licensing rules ignore REIA suggestions on education standards for agents

New draft national licensing rules for estate agents have removed the requirement for them to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) or obtain a diploma-level qualification.

The consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on a proposal for national licensing  for property occupations  has also removed the requirement that commercial property agents be licensed under the national framework.

These draft rules reject suggestions by the Real Estate Institute of Australia in April in its recommendations to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in April.

The removal of the diploma requirement would mean that estate agents in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania and South Australia will face lower educational qualifications than are currently in place.

These states and territories require either a diploma or a certificate IV qualification.

The national licensing framework is due to begin on July 1 next year, replacing the mutual recognition of real estate licences that currently exist between state and territory jurisdictions.

The RIS presents three options:

  • retain the status quo;
  • automatic mutual recognition, where similar to ‘driver’s licences, each license would be declared equivalent, being recognised by every other state and territory without the licensee having to reapply for a licence or pay any additional fee; or
  • national licensing, which is COAG’s preferred option.

“A national licensing system would provide a single policy approach to licence categories, regulated work and the eligibility requirements to obtain a property occupational licence,” COAG says.

“This would allow a person to work anywhere in Australia where the relevant work is licensed without having to reapply for a licence or pay any additional fee. A national licensing register would be established.”

Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) president Pamela Bennett is in favour of national licensing but has warned against settling for a lowest common denominator outcome.

“REIA supports national licensing and recognises the benefits this will bring to both the industry and to consumers through improved mobility between jurisdictions, an end to overlapping laws and a uniform approach across Australia. However, it is imperative that standards are not lowered for the sake of expediency”, she says.

Other items COAG is seeking to change include:

  • Under national licensing, a set of nationally uniform licence categories for the property occupations has been developed. The proposed licence categories that would apply to specified regulated work are real estate agent, business agent, strata managing agent, auctioneer and agent’s representative
  • One- or three-year licence periods are being proposed and would be available for all licence types, including property agent’s representative registration
  • Licence fees will be set in jurisdictional legislation, and it is likely that they will continue to differ across jurisdictions. It is proposed that licensees will pay their licence fee and renewals according to their primary place of residence
  • The removal of the requirement for continuing professional development: licensees would no longer need to spend time on and pay the fees associated with annual mandatory training courses

The industry and consumers now have the opportunity to make their views known by September 21 as part of a six-week consultation period.

A copy of the draft framework can be downloaded here.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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