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Compliance exemptions for big retailers not supported

30 July 2014

There has been some recent discussion about the proposed removal of requirements associated with licensing and regulations for ‘big end of town’ shopping centres. REINSW is concerned with these developments.

The discussion largely mirrors the debate that took place while the National Occupational Licensing Scheme was on foot. An exemption would allow agents to deliver commercial real estate services without obtaining a Certificate of Registration or Licence or completing further education.

REINSW President Malcolm Gunning said the removal of protections under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 is being fast tracked without going through the prescribed review process.

“Not only do we strongly oppose these proposed exemptions, we are disturbed by the very nature of the way in which the Government is going about fast tracking these important regulations under the guise of cutting red tape,” Mr Gunning said.

“The Minister for Fair Trading, Matthew Mason-Cox, is attempting to bypass his own Government’s procedures that require proper due process, including a Regulation Impact Statement detailing the impact of the removal of protections.”

REINSW continues to maintain its position that providers of real estate services must be adequately trained for entry into the profession, maintain their professional skills through continuing professional development and deliver their services within a licensed environment.

“This is of grave concern to REINSW and our members. There is an established process to consider the impact of the removal of these protections and we will not stand by and allow this to happen without proper due diligence,” Mr Gunning said.

“These licensing regulations were established to protect consumers and other third parties. Removing the requirement for large commercial agents to hold a Licence is pure nonsense.

“Now is not the time to create a ‘free for all’ for the big end of town. In fact, more procedures to protect consumers should be in place to avoid further erosion of the standards of the profession.

“We are submitting our concerns directly to the Minister and will continue to lobby to exclude from the remake of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation (expected to commence on 1 September 2014) the exemption for large commercial agents from the requirements of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002.

“There are very serious consequences associated with the remake of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation if it were to include the exemption, and we will lobby hard to ensure the rights of consumers, tenants, prospective buyers, buyers and other third parties are protected.

“We also believe that the introduction of this exemption would erode the confidence and security that the current regulatory environment provides those who seek to invest in the commercial market,” he said.