H. Antoniades

University of Technology, Sydney (AUSTRALIA)
The property profession in Australia encompasses property agents, for example, real estate agents, business agents, auctioneers and strata managing agents and also extends to the registered valuer. Each state and territory within Australia has a range of regulatory bodies to oversee consumer protection and the distinct licenses that comprise their regimes. In the case of property agents, licensing is managed under the auspices of individual state and territory Offices of Fair Trading.

In September 2003 the Office of Fair Trading in New South Wales introduced continuing professional development (CPD) as a requirement for property agency licensing and certificate holders. The aim was to provide property agents and certificate holders with continuing education comprising of “significant intellectual or practical content, be relevant to property agency work and provide an educational outcome”. The purpose and objective of the compulsory CPD was geared towards the maximising of consumer protection and to maintain public confidence with the property professional. In 2007, the minister for Fair Trading authorised an independent evaluation of the current system for CPD and invited submissions from training providers and industry associations to provide recommendations and improvement to the current program. The review resulted in an overhaul of the program and a broader range of topics approved as suitable for CPD for the property professional.

This research paper examines if the aims of compulsory CPD, as stated by the Office of Fair Trading, have been met for property agents and certificate holders within New South Wales. Data relating to consumer protection is also provided which supports the argument presented in this paper, that the purpose and objectives of the compulsory CPD have not been achieved entirely. This paper also suggests improvements to the monitoring system presently in place for CPD as a means of improving consumer protection and raising the professional profile for property agents and certificate holders.