Merger of state institutes possible

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Steven Cross

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) is paving the way for a national real estate body, but not all the current state-based institutes are happy about the idea.

Speaking exclusively with Real Estate Business, president of the REIA Ms Pamela Bennett said there has been a strong need for a national body for some time.

“There is strong cause for restructuring of the state and territory based institutes, however, and REIs into a single entity given the increasing nationalisation of the industry.

"The REIA Board had already been discussing the same idea and there is a strong consensus from our members to explore the concept in greater detail," she said.

“With the move toward national licensing and the harmonisation of the relevant laws and taxes, we believe a stronger national voice would be of tremendous advantage to our industry.

“We know that such a change would be very complex to implement and all of this needs to be considered carefully before any concrete steps are taken. The Board has no intentions of rushing into it and has agreed to convene a working group to begin the process of developing objectives and benchmarks."

Real Estate Business contacted each of the state and territory based institutes, and found a common consensus among them.

Morgan Shearer, president of the Real Estate Institute of Northern Territory (REINT), sees the need for the proposal, but thinks things shouldn’t be rushed.

“The REINT concurs wholeheartedly with the concept of a ‘National Body’, particularly with the advent of changes in the profession such as national licensing, harmonisation, possible national contracts etc.

“The REINT also sees the opportunity to rationalise efficiencies by way of economy of scale directly impacting positively delivery of education and member services.

“We see it as a natural progression, one with huge advantages

“This of course will take considerable time but there certainly appears to be an appetite for it.”

The REIA agrees it will take a long time for the transition, giving a five to seven year timeframe for completion.

But not all states are as willing as others.

David Airey, president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) recognises the need for a head body with state divisions, but will be cautious of the protection of his state's assets.

“It has been on the agenda for quite some time," he said.

"There has been talk for a national body to govern the state bodies instead of the other way around -- to reverse the role, and turn it into an organisation like HIA or the Property Council.”

“The big argument is handling of assets. REIWA would be reluctant to hand over its assets, we don’t see the need to do that. A national body must be kept simple and let each of the states manage their own revenue.

“You’re not going to get all state institutes sending all their money. The practicality of that is ludicrous.”

Mr Airey believes an all-powerful national body will not have the scope to handle local issues like a state institution can.

“Local assets are best managed by local institutes… How can someone in Canberra manage local issues? What we need is a real estate practise and reform on a national level such as education.”

“The things the national body would be concerned over is education, CPD and national licensing,” he concluded.

 

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