11/03/2008 - 15:22

WA business brokers lodge petition in Parliament

11/03/2008 - 15:22

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Western Australia's business broking community has lodged a petition of almost 1,300 signatures in State Parliament against proposed government legislation which they believe will unfairly advantage big banks.

Western Australia's business broking community has lodged a petition of almost 1,300 signatures in State Parliament against proposed government legislation which they believe will unfairly advantage big banks.

The petition was tabled by Mr Ray Halligan MLC on behalf of the state opposition.

The brokers and their supporters are deeply concerned about the Real Estate and Business Agents (Amendment Bill) 2007, introduced by Consumer Affairs minister Shelia McHale in November last year without industry consultation.

Business Brokers Association of WA spokesman Bill Goddard said the legislation as presented would allow the big banks to engage in business broking without a licence, undermining the existing profession and leaving consumers vulnerable.

"Not only does the Bill advantage the banks at the expense of small business broking firms, but the scope of the legislation can be expanded at whim by the minister as various other organisations make application to be exempt from the licensing regime," Mr Goddard said.

Mr Goddard said consumers were vulnerable under the draft legislation, as they did not have access to the fidelity fund if anything were to go wrong with the transaction, unlike the situation with licensed brokers.

Real Estate Institute of Western Australia president Rob Druitt, who helped sponsor the petition, said agents generally were very concerned about a weakened licensing regime.

"Business broking can often involve real estate, such as a fish and chip business which includes the shop itself so real estate agents are understandably concerned by any move that might undermine or overlook the trained, professional, expertise of licensed brokers and agents," Mr Druitt said.

Mr Goddard said that, while the Government had recently agreed to withdraw the Bill and to redraft it, he and his members remained very concerned about what version two might look like.

"At this stage we remain strongly opposed to the legislation and the principle behind it, so in addition to today's petition we are also asking the State's Upper House to send this Bill or its redraft to a Legislative Council Committee for thorough investigation," Mr Goddard said.

Mr Goddard said the support of his industry for a watered down version of the original Bill was not guaranteed.
"We'll have to wait and see," he said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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