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REIQ Journal : February 2010
National industry issues Pamela Bennett, REIQ Board Chair By Pamela Bennett, REIQ Board Chair By Dan Molloy, Managing Director, REIQ The structure and operation of the REIQ's Professional Standards and Consumer Complaints Tribunal has been reviewed by the Board to ensure it has the ability to e ectively achieve fair outcomes while adhering to the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness. The Tribunal's function is premised around being an adjudicative, rather than inquisitorial, body. In December 2009, the Board approved a range of amendments to the Tribunal's structure and processes in relation to both member claims for commission and complaints generally. Re ecting the fact that more than 70 per cent of matters are settled at the mediation stage of the hearing, a complete separation of the mediation process from the arbitration component has been signed o by the Board. Following lodgement of all relevant documents and other evidence, a separate mediation by an industry representative will be scheduled. The mediation will not involve any other Tribunal members. Matters not settled will be referred to the Tribunal for arbitration at its next sitting. The Tribunal convened to arbitrate a matter between members will consist of the chair (a lawyer) and two industry representatives (previously one). The industry representative who conducted the mediation will not sit on the Tribunal that subsequently arbitrates an unresolved matter. In reviewing the Tribunal, the Board listened to feedback from members on what remains a valuable bene t of membership. The revised bylaws are available on www.reiq.com.au. The review of the REIQ's Standards of Business Practice, agged in the October 2009 edition of the Journal, is nearing completion and the Board will consider the recommendations at its March 2010 meeting. REIQ Board fine-tunes Tribunal operation As well as serving as the REIQ Board Chair, I represent the Institute as a director on the Board of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA). Through this role I am involved in formulating policy responses to a wide range of national issues with representatives from other REI's. Many directly a ect our profession at a local level. As part of my role as a director of REIA, I chair its consistent education and licensing committee and as such have a keen interest in the development of the National Licensing System (NLS). The Commonwealth Government has established interim advisory committees for each occupational group that will be covered by the NLS. The committees comprise representatives from industry, government, consumer advocacy and training, and exist to advise on national licensing policy issues and provide input into the industry- speci c regulations of the national licensing legislation. REIA has three representatives on the property occupations interim advisory committee including REIQ's managing director Dan Molloy. Training and enforcement requirements for real estate industry speci c licences and registrations under the NLS will be outlined in the regulations. The real estate industry falls into the ' rst wave' of national licensing, to commence in 2012. There has been a delay in the passage of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) legislation for the rst tranche (unfair contract terms, standard contracts, consumer protection provisions and enforcement powers) and hence in the commencement date, which was to have been 1 January 2010. The Senate is yet to debate the rst ACL bill. It is now expected that the rst tranche will be implemented on 1 July 2010. At the time of writing, the government had not released any ndings from the Henry Tax Review. The recommendations of the review are likely to have a signi cant impact in the years ahead however it was pleasing to hear from Dr Henry himself last year that capital gains tax on the family home was not being considered. REIA's submission to the Henry Review called for the abolition of state-based property taxes as they are a highly variable and unreliable source of state revenue, ine cient, impede economic growth and restrict labour mobility. I will continue to keep members updated on these and other national issues that will increasingly a ect our profession. REIQ Journal February 2010 2 Industry News
December January 2010