13.03.2019 at 23:27
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Labor Backs REINSW, Promises New Property Commissioner

Labor is taking the side of the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW), calling for an end to Office of Fair Trading (OFT) oversight and a new Property Commissioner.


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The Labor Party in NSW has says that it will make property services a priority if it forms government this month.

Shadow Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Yasmin Catley, wrote a letter to CEO of REINSW Tim McKibben, stating that REINSW’s position of creating a commissioner for the property services industry is a worthy goal.

The letter was ostensibly written on behalf of Michael Daley.

Ms Catley said a property-focused agency will be an improvement over the current Fair Trading system, as it can focus on property issues and maintain a better relationship with the industry.

She also said the Opposition was alarmed by "the deterioration of relationships between groups like REI and Fair Trading."

REINSW and Fair Trading have been squabbling for quite some time, with OFT saying the industry cannot effectively police itself, and REINSW in turn saying regulators are not adequately equipped or educated to be regulating the real estate industry.

In a series of statements to the media, Mr McKibben said it was good news for the property industry.

"We support NSW Labor’s policy to establish a government agency that has the experience in, and understanding of, the property industry.

"Fair Trading’s regulatory competencies exist in the high-frequency, low-dollar value, minimal legal complexity transactions. Property transactions by comparison are low-frequency, high-dollar value and by their very nature inherently complex.

"We support NSW Labor’s policy to establish a Government agency that has the experience in, and understanding of, the property industry. Fair Trading’s regulatory competencies exist in the high-frequency, low-dollar value, minimal legal complexity transactions.Property transactions by comparison are low-frequency, high-dollar value and by their very nature inherently complex. A regulatory authority seeking to adequately support the property industry, must be well educated and experienced in the industry and be exclusively focused on it. 

"Consumers making home purchases in the hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars require specialist service providers and an experienced and competent regulatory authority that can maintain a regulatory environment for consumer protection. Expecting the same people at Fair Trading who represent consumers when buying a toaster or getting a haircut to then step up into complexities of a property transaction is ludicrous. A property transaction is a very serious undertaking, there is no room in the transaction for the ill-equipped, particularly the regulatory authority.

"The REINSW says a new Property Services Commissioner would provide a centralised overview of legislation and regulation that impacts residential, commercial, strata and rural property; support the drive to increase education and service delivery standards in the industries, and advise government on the best outcomes to remove legislative red tape and improve consumer protection across the industry."

He said a regulatory body that wants to properly support the industry must be well educated and experienced in property matters, and be focused on that and nothing else.

"Consumers making home purchases in the hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars require specialist service providers and an experienced and competent regulatory authority that can maintain a regulatory environment for consumer protection.

"Expecting the same people at Fair Trading who represent consumers when buying a toaster or getting a haircut to then step up into complexities of a property transaction is ludicrous.

"REINSW believes a property services commissioner would provide a centralised overview of legislation and regulation that impacts residential, commercial, strata and rural property; support the drive to increase education and service delivery standards in the industries; and advise government on the best outcomes to remove legislative red tape and improve consumer protection across the industry."

In a move that will probably surprise no-one, Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean denounced the plan, saying that "Labor will do whatever it takes to win power, including getting into bed with real estate lobbyists, at the expense of house hunters, investors, and tenants."


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