Property-focused agency to be established under Labor

By Kay Rivera | 14 Mar 2019

The Labor Party has committed to removing property services from Fair Trading, according to the Real Estate of Institute of New South Wales (REINSW).

In a written statement addressed to REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin, Labor said that it will prioritise placing property services within Property NSW, should it form a government this month. In addition, the NSW Building Authority would also be placed under the expanded Property NSW agency.

Shadow Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Yasmin Catley, writing on behalf of Michael Daley, said that the move to establish an agency that focuses on property would enhance the relationship with industry and government while achieving economies of scale.

“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 (the industry),” said REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin.

REINSW also said that consumers, who are buying homes worth hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars, need specialist service providers and an experienced and competent regulatory authority.

“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,” McKibbin said.

REINSW said that a new property services commissioner would also provide a centralised overview of legislation and regulation that affects residential, commercial, strata and rural property, and support the push to increase education and service delivery standards in the industry.

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