Real Estate Journal

November/December 2017 edition

At the start of 2017, as the incoming President of REIA, Malcolm Gunning made a pledge to reinvigorate the commitment of all REI’s to work together for the collective good of members across the country. Here he shares news of what’s been achieved over the last 12 months.

By Malcolm Gunning, President of the Real Estate Institute of Australia

At the start of this year, the REIA Board and the CEO’s of all the state and territory REI’s came together for a strategic planning day. The day allowed us to set down our collective goals for the coming year and define what success looks like.

We now have a united commitment to a Strategic Plan that has seen, and will continue to see, REIA and all the state and territory member REI’s working collaboratively to drive better outcomes.

I’m pleased to report that, over the course of 2017, we have achieved good progress in relation to each of the three main objectives of the Strategic Plan: advocacy, professionalism and governance.

1. Advocacy

REIA was formed back in 1924 to represent the interests of the real estate profession at a national level. Today, as it was then, our goal is to be sought out and respected as the custodian of the real estate industry and be the trusted advisor to consumers and other stakeholders.

Throughout 2017, we have worked hard to create a robust, proactive lobbying program and actively build strong relationships with senior politicians and government officials.

Treasurer Scott Morrison announced measures in the Federal Budget aimed at improving housing affordability and the integrity of the tax system. REIA was involved in close consultation with Treasury in the lead up to announcing the measures and we continue to work closely with them on the draft legislation (including that relating to the first home buyers Home Savers Scheme and the proposal to allow a special downsizing contribution into superannuation).

We’ve also been working with the Australian Taxation Office to implement changes to the foreign investment framework and continue to participate in the ATO’s Foreign Investment Reforms Working Group.

These are just a few of the things we’ve been working on. We know there is always more to be done and we’ll continue to do everything we can to embed ourselves in the minds of politicians, bureaucrats and consumers alike as the go-to voice for real estate across the nation.

2. Professionalism

REIA now has the support of all state and territory member REI’s to work towards a Professional Standards Scheme. We’re working with all the Institutes to complete the application process, which involves a comprehensive review and assessment of risk minimisation strategies of each REI, identification of any gaps and the development of new strategies to address any shortfalls.

Achievement of professional recognition requires a multi-faceted approach, but one thing is for sure – improving education requirements nationwide is a must. Education is at the core of everything we do as agents and we know that we must work collectively to raise standards of education to improve the service agents deliver to consumers and improve the perception of agents.

By successfully applying for a Professional Standards Scheme, the REIA and all state and territory REI’s will be able to show consumers that their members adhere to professional standards and can rightfully identify themselves as professionals.

We expect our application to the Professional Standards Council to be approved during 2019.

3. Governance

The final objective of our Strategic Plan relates to the governance of REIA. From the start of the year, our goal has been to implement effective, accountable, united and transparent governance that is respected by all state and territory member REI’s.

One step toward achieving this objective has been to formalise how the CEO’s interact with REIA and each other. The CEO’s of all state and territory REI’s now meet more regularly to explore commercial opportunities, discuss operational economies and look at the harmonisation of suppliers. Minutes of these meetings are now included in the REIA Board papers and those of all the Institutes, so each CEO is held accountable not just by the other CEO’s and the REIA Board, but by REI boards around the country. This means REIA’s agenda now features as a priority for each Institute.

So far we’ve achieved commercial benefits in a number of areas, including a collective approach to REI Forms Live, office systems and buying power.

4. More to come

The last 12 months has seen a reinvigoration of REIA and I’m proud to have played a part in reigniting a spirit of cooperation between the state and territory REI’s.

I look forward to driving more positive outcomes over the course of 2018 and will share news of our successes with you throughout the remainder of my term as REIA President.