NOLA disbanded, but REIA looks to national licensing system

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) has said that they are looking to work with Australian governments to bring in an effective licensing system for the 64,700 real estate agents across Australia.

The National Occupational Licensing Authority (NOLA) was disbanded, due to a number of concerns with the mooted model and potential costs of the National Occupational Licensing Scheme, in December 2013. This was a move that the REIA agreed with.

REIA deputy president Morgan Shearer said that it failed to recognize the structure of the industry.

“REIA is already working with the Council for the Australian Federation so as to mimimise impediments to regulations that impede labour mobility. In that way, a licensing scheme that is efficient, whilst protecting the interests of consumers, will continue to evolve,” Shearer said.

The REIA provided Property Observer with a copy of their proposals. The proposals explain that despite the disbanding of NOLA, it appears the REIA is still looking to encourage a national licensing system. The REIA called for the abolishment of NOLA but the existence of national licensing in the past.

Some of the concerns that existed from the REIA over NOLA included the dropping levels of entry level and agent licensing that would result in increased consumer risk and a lowering of professional standards. Ongoing professional training to maintain licensing was also not included under the initial proposals, which was pointed out as a weakness of the original proposal.

Concurrently, a recently issued update about national licensing from Elizabeth Crouch, chair of the National Occupational Licensing Board, said that the decision from COAG not to pursure licensing is disappointing and a blow to the industry that Australia cannot afford.

Automatic mutual recorgnition is reportedly being suggested ahead of national licensing.

“NOLA had worked with the industry to resolve many of the concerns evident in the Decision RIS and proposed alternatives to the Standing Council on Federal Financial Relations. These alternatives reflected industry consensus on outstanding issues," said Crouch. This included the National Licensing Register, which looked to provide easy access for consumers and regulators to the details of licensees, and was at testing stage.

The abolishment of NOLA saw applaud from real estate groups in December last year, prompting a welcome to the decision by REINSW' CEO, Tim McKibbin.

“We need national licensing, and the decision by COAG members to work together via the CAF and disestablish the NOLA from early 2014 is welcomed," said McKibbin.

The form that national licensing may take is still up for debate.

In recent news, a system of providing a 'Certified Practising' label for real estate agents through a new board has been introduced in response to the poor reputation of the industry in the eyes of the public.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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