Former Independent Property Group Managing Director John Minns has been appointed as the first Property Services Commissioner for NSW, in a move to support the $100 billion industry and its consumers.
Mr Minns said he was excited about the two-year position starting in early December.
“The minister’s office and the Department of Customer Service in NSW have got a really exciting way of looking at the world and they’re trying to build a model jurisdiction and one of the really key parts of that is the property industry,” he said.
“This is a role that gives me a chance to take a bunch of skills that I’ve had for some time and also give back to an industry that’s been very good to me.”
Mr Minns comes to the role with more than 25 years’ experience in the property industry, including multiple leadership roles with Independent Property Group and six years as chief operations officer and chief experience officer at Dexar Group.
He said one of the key elements of the role would be to bridge the gap between government and the property industry.
“I think there’s certainly opportunities to improve relationships between industry and government,” Mr Minns said.
“There’s a really strong bunch of intelligent leaders in all different parts of our industry, who I think probably all agree on most of the outcomes that need to be achieved, so it’s about finding a way of doing that together.”
Mr Minns said the digitalisation of the industry, housing affordability and education, training and licensing were some of the key topics to be worked on.
“The goal is to build a strong, collaborative and hopefully innovative framework for property in New South Wales,” Mr Minns said.
“While the minister’s office is saying, ‘We’re not necessarily experts in all of this, and we’d like you to work with us to recommend how we can continue to strengthen and sustain the property industry’, just as importantly, particularly for the Department of Customer Service, they want to make sure consumers are getting really good outcomes as a result of engaging with the industry.
“I’m going to spend a lot of time listening to a very diverse group of stakeholders over the next period of time.
“I think that’s also exciting, just to make sure we understand what the concerns are, what the opportunities are and then we can work together so that everyone gets a better result.”
Mr Minns said digitalisation would play a big role in the future of the property industry.
“Digital transformation and PropTech is still an emerging industry, even though it’s been around for a while,” he said.
“There’s billions of dollars internationally being thrown at it, and it’s going to have an impact on consumer experience and it’s going to have an impact on industry sustainability and industry success.”
Mr Minns said housing affordability was a wide ranging issue that affected everyone nationwide.
“I have little doubt that’s going to be an important part of the conversation,” he said.
“With housing affordability I think we’d all like to see all stakeholders in a collaborative approach as opposed to listening to the loudest voice that might try and tweak things, rather than improve it for everyone.
“Some of that’s national, but certainly it’s an issue and a challenge in New South Wales, and I’m sure that’s something we need to look at.”
Mr Minns said there had been a lot of innovation in the education, training and licensing section of the industry and the goal was for this to continue.
“It’s about ensuring that the current framework, and there’s been a lot of innovation there already, continues and that we get good performance and good consumer outcomes from it.”
When announcing earlier this year that a Property Services Commissioner would be appointed, Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said the commissioner would join the Property Services Expert Panel and was the next step in the NSW Government’s commitment to supporting the property and real estate sector while restoring public confidence in the industry and the regulator.
“Consumer protection is at the forefront of our agenda and we know the property sector supports this objective as well,” Mr Anderson said.
“We will be tasking the Property Services Expert Panel and the commissioner with making recommendations to the government on how we can improve and streamline services delivered to the property services sector and consumers by the regulator NSW Fair Trading.
“This is a critical sector of our economy and it’s important the regulation of the property services sector is modern and fit for purpose.
“This appointment will be a substantial step forward in delivering for consumers, businesses and employees.”