nsw real estate body calls for parliamentary inquiry into fair trading

Cutting Red Tape

McKibbin said four years ago Fair Trading made the decision to remove the obligation for real estate agents to lodge their annual trust account audits in what it claimed removed “red tape”.

“With one strike of a pen, Fair Trading removed all the protection of an independent audit,” he says.

“It created the ludicrous situation where only agents who had behaved fraudulently needed to notify Fair Trading that their audit had identified their fraud, and as a result, incidents like the van Wijngaarden case and others cost consumers millions of dollars.”

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean has strongly defended Fair Trading, expressing serious concern regarding the increasing levels of non-compliance within the real estate industry.

Last week Kean said the Zacharis Gregory case was further evidence of why an industry-controlled regulator, as demanded by REINSW, is not a practical or sensible proposal.

In response, McKibbin said REINSW “wished to clarify that REINSW is not and has not sought self-regulation”.

“Fair Trading continue to make decisions regarding the property market, property services industry and consumer with no subject matter knowledge, competencies or experience,” McKibbin said.

“The result is legislation which is unworkable, adds costs, undermines industry effectiveness and leaves consumers exposed.”

In a letter to REINSW president Leanne Pilkington, Kean said the bases on which the REINSW had called for a parliamentary inquiry were false, and that “the NSW government will not be supporting an inquiry”.

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