Page 3680 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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clumsy introduction of a unit titles scheme dovetailed with the development and commencement of the ACT’s new Civil and Administrative Tribunal—the ACAT.

It may also be that some of the concerns raised are a little mischievous in that this bill, if passed, will introduce competition to the units plan managers and will set up greater expectations and extract more rigorous accountability in their field. In many ways it seems to have proved to be too tempting for some with a vested interest in the existing unit titles management sector to highlight concerns in a fairly alarmist manner. For example, the decision to set up some kind of licensing regime for managers of owners corporations has led to some agitation and worry, particularly as it has been done through the agency of the Agents Act, indeed, under the heading of real estate agents. We all know what most people think of real estate agents. Where are they on the list compared with politicians? Not much higher, one imagines.

I have received numerous submissions, as, I am sure, have other members, and comments in person protesting at an apparent requirement for managers of owners corporations or units plans, as they used to be known, to be real estate agents. In fact, under a provision of the act managers, while described as real estate agents, would, in fact, be licensed as owners corporation managers. It is a shame that it was not possible to find a simpler way of communicating that approach so that there was not room for those who were ill-informed or simply annoyed to spread alarm. But, Ms Madam Temporary Deputy Replacement Assistant Speaker, the fact is—

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): That could be considered disorderly, Dr Foskey. You should get your terminology correct.

DR FOSKEY: I knew one of those would be right. There was a vacuum there and within that vacuum alarm has been placed. I sought some explanation of how the act works and was given this advice, which, for ease of explanation, I will quote verbatim. It states:

The Real Estate Agents licence covers a wide range of business functions. To this extent it might be regarded as a generic licensing platform in relation to a range of similar property management/selling business activities.

Previously, real property auctioneers have been brought within this scheme using the conditional—

I think it might be previously real estate property auctioneers:

licence system. As with the present case, many of these auctioneers were also licensed real estate agents.

Now, after the amendment to the Agents Act, which would be affected by this bill, a licensed real estate agent will also be able to act as manager of an owners corporation for a units plan. Furthermore, under these amendments the holder of a conditional real estate agent’s licence who only acts as a manager of an owners corporation will only be able to undertake the function of acting as manager of an owners corporation for a units plan. I hope this is making sense. In effect, it is a special licence, as requested by stakeholders, for unit plan managers. In my mind it has just got the wrong name.

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