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Minister commits to pro-property stance
Released 3 June 2011

Energetic and enthusiastic about his role, the new Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts is looking forward to a strong and ongoing engagement with REINSW.    

At the mid-year REINSW State Conference on Friday, 27 May 2011, delegates heard from the new Minister about the NSW Government’s pro-property stance.

Acknowledging the significant role the REINSW plays in providing leadership to the real estate industry across NSW, the Minister declared he was looking forward to finding new and better ways to work together.

“We share a strong common interest in building a solid, enduring real estate sector and establishing NSW as the number one state for property investment in the nation,” he said.

“The NSW Government and the Institute need to work together to achieve these goals.”
      Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts and REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin
Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts with REINSW CEO
Tim McKibbin

The Minister sees the NSW Government providing crucial support to the real estate industry in a number of ways.

A level playing field

NSW Fair Trading plays a significant role ensuring the real estate market operates efficiently and effectively. One of the most important mechanisms for achieving this is through compliance and enforcement action.

“Dodgy operators give the industry a bad name and undermine consumer confidence. We must ensure a level playing field and take steps to remove these people from the marketplace,” the Minister said.

“It’s important any compliance and enforcement action is well targeted.

“It must focus on people in the industry who aren’t doing the right thing – and have no interest in doing so – not on those trying their best to comply with the various requirements placed on the industry.

“As Minister for Fair Trading, my objective is to make sure consumers have robust and effective protection under the law.

“The process of buying, selling or renting property should be as smooth and hassle free as possible and it is essential that consumers be served by a professional and ethical industry.

“Consumer confidence is vital to creating a vibrant real estate sector.”

NSW Fair Trading regularly conducts compliance and enforcement activities, as well as targeted operations. Recently, Operation First Home Buyers targeted 27 auctions in Liverpool, Bankstown, Campbelltown, Blacktown, Holroyd and the Hills.

Properties likely to be of interest to first home buyers were specifically targeted. In particular, NSW Fair Trading concentrated on dummy bidding and underquoting – unlawful practices that undermine consumer confidence in the market.

“I’m pleased to say that, overall, Fair Trading found a high level of compliance with legislation,” Mr Roberts said.

“There was no evidence of dummy bidding and I congratulate the industry on that.”

The main concern coming out of Operation First Home Buyers was underquoting.

However, the Minister stressed this was not a widespread problem.

“NSW Fair Trading will continue to monitor the marketplace in this regard and will take compliance action wherever necessary,” he said.

Appropriate regulation

The NSW Government has a strong, unwavering commitment to appropriate regulation and red tape reduction.

“We need to balance the needs of consumers and the industry,” the Minister said.

“We are not against regulation. We advocate appropriate, sensible regulation that works for consumers and industry.”

The NSW Government’s headline commitment to reducing red tape is its ‘One In, Two Out’ policy.

Under this policy, for every new regulatory requirement, two existing requirements must go. In this way, the unnecessary, out of date – or just plain useless – regulatory requirements that have built up over the years will be identified and removed. 

Market stimulus

“As well as ensuring the way the industry is regulated in NSW makes sense, the NSW Government is also taking clear action to boost the state’s economy,” Mr Roberts said.

“This will provide flow-on benefits to NSW’s property market and boost investor confidence.”

As a first step, effective from 1 July 2011, the NSW Government has repealed the Torrens Assurance Levy. This follows the undertaking REINSW secured in May 2010 from the now Premier Barry O’Farrell to repeal the levy upon election.

“This $249 million tax on property purchases hurts both the housing market and the construction industry,” the Minister explained.

“Removal of the tax will reduce the costs involved in property transactions and give more people the opportunity to buy their own home.”

The NSW Government has also committed to extending the principal place of residence stamp duty exemption to ‘empty nesters’ over 55 years of age who downsize. This is another area in which REINSW has been particularly vocal.

Further, 10,000 blocks of land for housing will be released by Landcom over the next four years, providing even more opportunities for people to enter the real estate market and purchase their own home.

“These steps will provide real, tangible benefits to the property market, the real estate industry and the economy and people of NSW,” Minister Roberts said. 

Working together

“In order to maximise these benefits, we need industry to work with us in building a stronger, more resilient real estate sector,” Mr Roberts said.

“I look forward to regular, continued interaction with REINSW and its members on this front.”

REINSW Deputy President Christian Payne applauded the new government for acting on the advice of industry and told the State Conference he was looking forward to further policy announcements.