The push for regime change at the root of Queensland’s real estate regulation debacle has gained momentum with PAMDA’s referral to a parliamentary committee and the reconsideration of a 2009 SDPC report that recommends the current over-the-top system that delivers negligible consumer benefit, be scrapped.

The rethink – which follows the industry’s call in May for a moratorium on further ill-considered regulation and an email petition campaign from agents – is the best chance yet to topple the absurd scheme that has already cost agents and consumers nearly $2 billion.

Nearly 200 agents have already joined the e-mail protest to Deputy Premier Paul Lucas to support a joint ADL software – Carter Capner Law submission that the current regime be dumped.

More support is needed to demonstrate the depth of feeling over this issue.

The current rules import huge compliance, disputation and transaction costs: more than 50% of the legal effort for any transaction is expended on compliance issues that have nothing to do with its legal imperatives.

The triple liability that agents currently face from the overly prescriptive PAMDA laws – fines, lawsuit damages and not getting paid by opportunistic sellers – is grossly unfair.

The multitude of forms and disclosure is confusing to consumers to the extent that they are (including the PAMDA form 30c & BCCM 14 warning statements) mostly ignored. On the contrary, disclosing parties are immunised from liability by the very act of disclosure.

The submission urges that sensible legislative measures should be directed against the few shonks that are responsible for any rorts – not the entire industry and consumers themselves.

There is now for the most part, adequate protection under the general law – the Australian Consumer Law for example that came into force from January 1 2011 – that renders much of PAMDA’s specific consumer protections redundant. Any new regime of regulation should therefore be far less prescriptive.

And if deregulation of commissions does occur, this needs to happen without imposing further overheads and costs on agents.

Given Queensland real estate offices are currently suffering their worst decline in many years, with stamp duty rising and sales at rock bottom, it is time to make a change that will help rejuvenate a key part of our economy.


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