ABC consumer affairs reporter Amy Bainbridge and the National Reporting Team’s Rebecca Armitage yesterday brought to us their work on the so-called sharing economy’s ‘dark side’ and Airbnb’s impact on Byron Bay Residents. This second article has gone viral, with the story of Byron’s homeless women being picked up and shared by our coalition partners in the UK, Europe and North America.
Without doubt, the profound social and financial problems provoked by short-term rental operators are mirrored the world over and shared by NSW Residents from Annandale and Fairlight, to Albury, Ballina and Yamba.
In the Shoalhaven there is still no data available on the extent of short-term tourist/visitor; their Local Environmental Plan was altered while NSW Upper House MP Paul Green was a Shoalhaven Councillor. This change in Planning/Zoning has facilitated the option of short-term letting in all residential homes without check. One thing is known: the ABC reports an ever-increasing rate of homelessness in the Shoalhaven.
Airbnb’s Brent Thomas must substantiate his claims that listings are typically only rented “for about 30 nights a year”, and that “overwhelmingly people are renting their primary property” for some $4,500 p.a. Mr Thomas and his Airbnb collaborator Sam McDonagh have failed to answer all questions on why listings in properties with NSW Land and Environment Court Orders banning short-term letting are still featured on their Company’s website. Holder of a Law degree, former Chief of Staff of one NSW State Minister and former Hurstville Councillor, Brent Thomas can be in no doubt that he and Airbnb are effectively facilitating the unlawful letting of thousands of residential homes across our State at the expense of those searching for stable, affordable housing.
If one simply takes one of the residential property declared by Deputy Premier John Barilaro, which are featured on multiple short-term letting websites, one has to ask how his annual income for this activity of somewhere in the vicinity of $670,000+ might sit with and safeguard those forced to live - often with children - in motor vehicles or in other unlicensed, unsafe forms of shelter?
Meanwhile we await Ministers Anthony Roberts and Matt Kean’s ‘options paper’, promised by the end of June.
Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits