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Airbnb Wants Our Homes, And Is Happy for Us to Pay the Tax

Hobart’s Green Councillor Philip Cocker wants to discourage the conversion of rentals to hotels and serviced apartments. He also seeks registration and penalties for short-term letting landlords who don’t register. Meanwhile the NSW Greens have remained silent to our data and questions on their position on affordable housing.

Byron Shire Councillor Paul Spooner is reportedly suggesting a bed tax of some $5 per person per night on tourist/visitor letting with money going back to council to help with infrastructure or housing projects.

Airbnb’s Brent Thomas puts forward that his company has been enormously beneficial for Australia’s tourism sector - were we to believe him, without Airbnb tourists would have stopped visiting Australia. Mr Thomas says he’d support a government tax on Airbnb’s landlords - how this would be collected from across the Industry is unclear. He adds a proviso: “…fundamentally the regulations need to support people sharing their own homes, or extra space in their own homes, provided that's done in a respectful and responsible way." Now, with the utmost respect, Brent Thomas seems oblivious to the rights of NSW Residents who seek nothing more than the quiet enjoyment of their homes and the fundamental right to safe, secure, affordable housing.

The imperative is: Residential Housing is for the housing of Residents. There is already legislation for those wanting to operate a Tourist/Visitor Bed & Breakfast in a free-standing, single-family dwelling.

NSW Land and Environment Court: Mixing Short-Term Rentals with permanent residents is “fundamentally incompatible” plus “the impacts on neighbours is, as the evidence overwhelming demonstrates, severe”, and “any such proposal will require extensive building upgrades for fire safety and for access for persons with a disability, plus likely lead to a disproportionate financial burden on long term residents…”

How can a bed tax compensate those who can't find housing and those who have bought into residential properties and suburbs in the expectation that they will be living in a residential community; those who are now retrospectively forced to live in transit zones? What now of the livelihoods of those who operate licensed accommodation businesses, who meet all legislative and safety requirements and pay commercial rates on every aspect of their operations – are they going to be deregulated and reimbursed?

And where is the moral integrity in Airbnb’s proposal, hot-on-the-heals of the stories of Byron's homeless women and children and the fire in London’s Grenfell Tower?How can it be suggested that we allow the Short-Term Rental Industry to operate in breach of Australian Building Codes, Disability Discrimination Legislation, Fire and Rescue benchmarks and Visitor/Tourist Development Control Plans etc?

Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits Neighbours not Strangers

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