Real Estate

Parliamentary Inquiry and self-regulation: REINSW

  • Written by Helen Hull

The property services industry does not seek self-regulation as suggested by Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean, according the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales.

The clarification comes after REINSW called for a Parliamentary Inquiry (22 November) into the decision-making processes of NSW Fair Trading in the wake of its negligence involving trust account audits, following the State’s largest fraud case.

Fair Trading removed the requirement for licenses to lodge their trust account audits with Fair Trading in 2013. Realising their mistake and the consumer harm they caused Fair Trading reversed their decision in March of this year.  Alarmingly this remedial activity has not worked its way through the system and the legislative changes have not yet commenced, so consumers are still at risk.

REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said the constant reference to industry seeking self-regulation in the Minister’s press releases is not only incorrect, it also demonstrates a desperate clawing for relevance and an attempt to divert attention away from Fair Trading, who are facing a barrage of consumer protection failures.

“Let’s once again be crystal clear, industry does not seek self-regulation, industry seeks a cooperative and constructive relationship with a regulatory authority who has competencies and experience in the property industry,” Mr McKibbin said.

Mr McKibbin said the decision of the Minister to announce publicly that there will be no Parliamentary Inquiry with less than one day’s consideration is alarming.

“Attempting to assign blame to industry while a pandemic of incompetence flushes at Fair Trading strongly suggests that Government is not acting as a model citizen,” Mr McKibbin said.

“The first step to resolving any problem is an acknowledgement of, and a detailed understanding of the issues.  Pretending it doesn’t exist and blaming others, only delays implementation of the requisite remedial activities. REINSW respectively suggests that in this case sunshine is the best disinfectant.

“Accordingly, publicly exposing the systemic failure of Fair Trading’s ability to understand and adequately support the property services industry is an important step forward.  Misplaced confidence and ignorance are a dangerous combination, and a recipe for harm as in this case.

“REINSW as the States pre-eminent representative body for the property services industry offers its assistance to the Minister,” Mr McKibbin said.

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