The NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the adequacy of legislation covering short-term letting of homes ignored completely our current legislation, case law, court orders and NCAT orders. Subsequent to the Parliamentary Inquiry, the Committee Manager confirmed in writing that no Legal advice was ever sought.
Again, “…no Legal advice was sought” during the preparation of Ministers Kean and Roberts’ “Options Paper".
Last December, Minister Matt Kean called for evidence of “collusion” between Agents and short-term rental platforms. This too was supplied, with two Official Branches of the NSW Government topping the list.
There has been zero acknowledgement, response or report-back to those who took the time and effort to present to Parliament the reasons why our homes, residential communities, plus the viability of our small-business operators, are so critically important to us. Much that was presented is now marked “confidential”.
One is struck by the report that Minister Kean, Innovation and Better Regulation, has refused meeting requests from, amongst others, the Accommodation Association of Australia’s CEO. If our peak accommodation provider is refused access, why then would Residents Groups expect to be heard? We acknowledge: Tourism Accommodation Australia was granted access. TAA is in partnership with Expedia - Airbnb’s main rival.
Note: there was no mention of “platform accountability” yesterday. Indeed, Kean said that he is proposing to have “a negative licensing scheme”– bad actors will only be ‘noted’ when they breach a ‘Code of Conduct’. We are unable to find any successful punitive action to date, anywhere in Australia, resulting from such a ‘Code’.
Airbnb’s head of Global Policy and Communications Chris Lehane was here in Sydney and waiting for Ministers Kean and Roberts’ statement.
Airbnb’s band of friendly ‘hosts’ – who have been engaged in the unlawful provision of tourism accommodation in residential premises - were later paraded before the Media. And late yesterday afternoon, some took to social media, assuring others that tools are already built into the Airbnb platform which permit circumvention of restrictions: “It’s very, very easy to avoid a 180-night yearly cap.”
Consider North Coast MP Michael Lyon’s response. His community is profoundly impacted upon:
“As anticipated, the State government has failed the community of Byron Shire. They have adopted a one-size fits all policy framework which has not recognised the needs of our community. The continuing loss of housing stock in Byron to Short Term Holiday Letting, that is seeing scores of families having to leave every month, has not been addressed.
There is nothing to level the playing field for accommodation providers who have paid for their DAs and fees, nothing about business rates being charged for these investor holiday lets, nothing on fire safety regulations.
Most concerning, nothing about where to house the locals who are forced to leave Byron or live in camping grounds, an all-too-true, on the ground reality here.
This is the liberal mindset and based on the belief that nothing should get in the way of people making a buck and that nothing, communities included, is sacred. This will become a state election issue now and I have faith that my counterpart Tamara Smith MP will fight the good fight on behalf of Byron. We have lost this battle, but not the war!”
Ministers Kean and Roberts did not mention that currently before the Courts is the alleged rape and murder of a MelbourneAirbnb client.
And Ministers, commercial operations are not permitted in Residential buildings and zones, policy and legislation is in place to protect visitor safety and neighbourhood amenity, NSW Residents have purchased homes or need affordable rental housing, all of which is clearly zoned Residential, and that those who comply with Federal, State and Local Government regulations - our licensed B&B and Motel operators – Ministers, our needs must be placed before the business modelsof multi-billion dollar, foreign owned booking platforms.
Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits
Neighbours not Strangers