The PSAQ is a registered industrial trade union of employees representing those employed in the real estate industry in Queensland. It was established in 1974, for the express purpose of providing industry-based industrial representation for real estate salespeople (which under Queensland law, includes property management employees).
The PSAQ Committee of Management members reflect a diversity of backgrounds and experience, but are all (or have been) real estate sales people or property managers with extensive experience.
From its inception, the PSAQ was specifically instructed by its membership to "maintain the status quo" (in terms of employment arrangements), whereby the majority of sales people were employed on commission only. In 1994, however, some mainstream unions apparently saw the real estate industry as being "fair game", and so in response to this, the PSAQ went back to its membership in 1995, and sought instructions as to what the industry now wanted.
There was overwhelming support given to introduction of an award, as long as it reflected the unique relationship that exists between employers and employees in the industry. The desire was that there be:
- A "safety net" for people who were new to the industry (in terms of a guaranteed income); and
- For those who so choose, the opportunity to earn over and above the minimum income.
A revitalised committee was elected in 1995, and the committee pursued the goal of introducing an award which was realistic in its outcome. The Property Sales Award Queensland - State became law on 13 December 1996, and was implemented on 1 July 1997.
Even though many people had said for some time that "the award will change the Industry forever" (and they were right), the changes were both different and slower than what most expected. Many predicted that the award would see a dramatic reduction in the number of salespeople and offices in the Industry. Some expected that "the award would clean up the Industry overnight". Others believed that "union control of the industry would destroy it forever". None of these predictions was true.
What did occur was that, for the first time, an industry-based organisation was able to focus on the legitimate employment needs of those who work in the industry:
- Minimum training requirements;
- Systems to make employers accountable for their promises - especially to do with payment of commission;
- Recompense for out-of-pocket expenses (e.g. mobile phone & car allowances for property management employees);
- Long service leave; and
- Correct payment of superannuation.
- 1995: PSAQ revitalised
- 1996: Property Sales Award approved for real estate salespeople and property managers in Queensland
- 1997: First-ever traineeship for real estate salespeople and property managers
- 1999: Property Sales Award revised in to give greater protection to commission earnings
- 2001: The subject of long service leave was effectively resolved
- 2001: Successfully lobbied government for minimum entry-level training for property managers and real estate salespeople
- 2002: First-ever Property Management Award was introduced
- 2005: Both Property Management & Property Sales Awards extensively revised
- 2005: Established Queensland Property Industry Registry to register employment agreements
- 2006/2007: Established Real Estate Industrial Group to lobby Federal Government
- 2007: Successfully lobbied Australian Fair Pay Commission for introduction of a commission-only pay scale
- 2009: Successfully negotiated the (federal) Real Estate Industry Award 2010.
Other issues that have emerged in recent times (and in which the PSAQ is closely involved):
- Review of the Real Estate Industry Award 2010
- "Closing the door" on sham contracting
- The Property Agents Bill 2010
- The proposed deregulation of sales commissions
- The proposed National Licensing System.
In summary, the PSAQ is about ensuring that real estate salespeople and property management employees in Queensland's real estate industry have a legitimate "voice", and that they are properly represented in all matters which affect their employment.
Is the PSAQ succeeding in its aims? We'll let you decide …