- Automatic mutual recognition (AMR) is supposed to be debated in Parliament this week
- REIA has expressed scepticism over the benefits and relevancy of the proposed law
- If passed, the AMR is set to become law on 1 July 2021
Over 138 submissions were made last year by various industry bodies and others in regards to the proposed ‘automated mutual recognition’ (AMR) legislation, which is set to be debated in the lower house of federal parliament this week.
In August 2020, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced that the commonwealth, state and territory governments had agreed to introduce AMR for licensed occupational qualifications in order to reduce red tape and improve labour mobility.
AMR allows someone who is a licensed plumber, or real estate agent, or lawyer in one state have their qualifications and registrations recognised in all other states and territories.
Before AMR, a person would have to qualify again, or at least register, if they wanted to practice their profession or trade in another jurisdiction.
A Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) study estimated that an additional $2.4 billion in economic activity could result over ten years as a result of AMR. They found that more than 160,000 workers would benefit, and that 44,000 people could choose to work interstate that may not otherwise have done so.
In November 2020, the national cabinet approved draft legislation to enable AMR by 1 July 2021.
Real Estate Reaction
The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) is sceptical about those benefits put forward by PwC.
REIA President Adrian Kelly said it was not clear if and how those benefits applied – and whether the new law is relevant – to the real estate sector.
“While we have welcomed the ability for states to exempt licensed occupations on the grounds of significant consumer risk, we believe real estate agents should be exempt from the Mutual Recognition Bill until such a time there is a single and leading practise set of regulatory standards governing the licensing of the sector.”
Adrian Kelly, REIA President
“The minimum standard should be a Diploma of Property Services for business owners and a full Certificate IV for associates or equivalents as well as demonstrated knowledge of State and Territory consumer protection laws and continued professional development.”
“The Draft Bill does not address the industry’s historical concerns raised about the need for alignment of consumer protection laws detailed in REIA’s submissions to the 2013 National Licensing for Property Occupations and the 2015 Productivity Commissions Mutual Recognition Scheme consultations.”
“With various states working through various Residential Tenancy reviews designed to improve consumer protection and standards, it is unclear why at the same time unnecessary deregulation should come in and conflate and undermine existing standards.”
“In addition, in the absence of [the] development of a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), it is REIA’s view that the reform approach in this instance does not meet the very high standards set by Australia’s Office of Best Practise Regulation in terms of clearly identifying what is the policy problem to be solved,” Mr Kelly said.
Mr Kelly said that REIA had presented a body of evidence to the federal government outlining the significant consumer risk for the sales and property management side of the property sector.
The introduction of the Mutual Recognition Bill to the Lower House is due this week.