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NSW Parliament Passes Weakest Short-Term Rental Legislation

The NSW Legislative Council last night passed the Fair Trading Amendment (Short-Term Rental Accommodation) Bill 2018. The Hansard transcript of the debate can be found (introduction) here and (arguments) here.

Labor’s spokesperson remarked: “notwithstanding the lack of detail about how this legislation will work, the Opposition will not oppose the bill in this House.”

The Fair Trading Amendment (Short-Term Rental Accommodation) Bill 2018 will be followed by NSW Planning/Housing Minister Anthony Roberts’ changes to the State Environmental Planning Policy [SEPP]. The SEPP will allow short-term rental as exempt development in all residential premises. The SEPP will not be subject to review by Parliament; it is a planning instrument that will override all previous Local Council zoning.

The NSW Parliament has rejected submissions, data and statements made during its three-year deliberation on this issue from those who have been forced to live with this illegal, short-term use of residential housing. These submissions came from NSW Residents who have undertaken all due diligence and purchased homes in Residential R2 and R4 zones and Residential strata buildings, plus submission from regulated accommodation providers. No comment was sought from Organisations representing our ever-growing number of homeless Residents.

The NSW Parliament sought no legal advice during its Inquiry and has rejected a long line of jurisdiction on this issue in the NSW Land and Environment Court.

The Government has failed to respect the proprietary rights of owners of existing residential property, their rights and privileges acquired under a statute or statutory rule – the conditions of development consent – that are there to restrict and prohibit short-term letting. According to a NSW Senior Counsel in Planning Law, this could well be considered akin to the acquisition of valuable property rights without compensation.

Our Government has welcomed all requests and claims received from the US$31 billion Airbnb, Expedia, other international and local platform operators and passed the weakest short-stay regulations in Australia, and perhaps the weakest in the world. In doing so, Parliament has rejected all National Construction Codes and Disability Discrimination Legislation, Fire & Rescue benchmarks and Coronial reports. We provide this closing summary from the Queensland State Coroner in respect of the Palace Backpackers Hostel fire in Childers. Coroner Michael Barnes wrote:

“It is apparent that since the fire there has been a very high level of commitment and activity across numerous State Government departments and local authorities that has seen a metamorphosis in building fire safety. However, there is always a risk that as the horror of the Palace Backpackers Hostel fire fades from the public consciousness, and new priorities demand the commitment of extra financial and human resources, these reforms will be allowed to degrade. I know the professional and volunteer fire fighters of this State who risk their lives when fires occur would prefer sufficient resources continue to be devoted to prevention. It is incumbent on their superiors and the State Government to continue to provide the leadership and the resources to enable that to happen.”

Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits

Neighbours not Strangers

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