The annual CPD requirement for real estate agents in Western Australia could be halved to five points from 2026, as part of a new self-funded model proposed by the State Government.
Currently, real estate agents need to accumulate 10 CPD points, while settlement agents must obtain six points from a combination of mandatory and elective training activities each year.
But under the proposed changes, the number of points would be halved for both real estate and settlement agents.
Commerce Minister Sue Ellery said a 24-month transition period is proposed from January 2024, to allow time for industry participants to adjust to self-funding and make changes to their CPD activities to accommodate the new requirements.
Under the State Government proposal, Consumer Protection will continue to support CPD, however, they will no longer directly administer the delivery of the program.
“Buying a home is the biggest investment decision many Western Australians will ever make, so it is vital industry participants are as informed and well-educated as possible,” Ms Ellery said.
“It is pleasing to see broad sector support for a program that protects consumers and promotes consumer confidence in the real estate and settlement industries.
“Consumer Protection will continue to support the industry by determining broad CPD subject areas, providing educational materials and the commissioner to retain the power to specify mandatory topics or activities on an ad-hoc basis.”
REIWA Chief Executive Officer Cath Hart said the announcement provided certainty for consumers and practitioners alike.
“Our surveys of public sentiment over many years have repeatedly confirmed that WA consumers were concerned about proposals to remove CPD requirements for real estate practitioners,” she said.
“The majority of REIWA members surveyed earlier this year also expressed their overwhelming support for an ongoing requirement for CPD in order to maintain professional standards, protect consumers and enhance the reputation of the industry as a whole.
“Our advocacy to the Government has been for a CPD model which maintains industry standards in a way that is appropriate in regard to the obligations and requirements of practitioners, with a particular focus on ensuring CPD content is contemporary and relevant for the key issues being faced by industry.”
The announcement came as the Government reminded agents to complete their 2023 CPD before 31 December, revealing that 67 per cent of licensed real estate agents and 69 per cent of registered sales representatives and property managers had yet to do any CPD this year.
“The community has high expectations of real estate practitioners and so it is critically important that standards across the industry are enforced,” Ms Hart said.
“There has been ongoing uncertainty around the future of the CPD program for many years now with erroneous suggestions that it could be scrapped altogether, (which is) likely a significant contributor to the number of practitioners who haven’t started their CPD yet.
“Today’s announcement gives absolute certainty about what their obligations are and I expect we will see an increase in CPD completions between now and the end of 2023.”
The Government has confirmed they will focus on enforcing compliance with the existing regime until the new program starts, with the current requirements remaining in place for 2024. To view the full set of recommendations, see the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) review report online.