At lunchtime today NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was doing a Media call in the Sydney suburb of Oatley. State Member for Oatley and Chairman of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Legislation on Short-Term Rentals, the Hon Mark Coure MP, accompanied the Premier. A local Media Representative was present.
The Premier was told that Residents are being forced from their homes due to illegal rentals. Ms Berejiklian was asked to explain why neither she nor her Ministers reply to questions regarding her Government’s plan to alter the State Environmental Planning Policy [SEPP] in order to retrospectively remove the proprietary rights of residential title deed holders and allow multi-billion-dollar short-term rental platforms control over our homes and communities. Ms Berejiklian replied that her Government was aiming to give Local Councils some control, gave her interlocutor a quick elbow tap and, to Mr Coure, offered a dismissive: “’She’ doesn’t like Airbnb.” Mark Coure did not look pleased.
The Australian Tax Office has announced it will be collecting information regarding sharing economy accommodation (including Airbnb, Stayz and others) to identify individuals who have, or may be engaged in, providing accommodation services through an online platform during the 2017 to 2020 income year. The Holiday Rental Industry Association (HIRA) has written to their landlords confirming that they too will be providing the ATO with data.
If Airbnb, Stayz/HomeAway and others will provide data on their landlords to the ATO, why are they refusing to provide State and Local Government Authorities with data on who is using residential housing to run illegal short-term rentals? The ATO’s Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson will be asked whether or not Government Authorities share other types of data in order to identify illegal operations. Such an exchange between Government bodies would surely make the job of enforcing Residential Zoning and punishing illegal operators very simple for Local Councils.
Word yesterday from State MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich’s Office on illegal short-term rentals and the City of Sydney Council’s refusal to enforce residential zoning:
“(Alex) agrees that the situation is a mess. Unfortunately the (State) government has declined to justify their approach or make public details or advice on compliance with zoning or development consent, insurance or compensation. The mooted class action from taxis may mean that there is potential for similar action in this area. You may wish to check legal advice about your options for obtaining compensation.”
So, who has the money to take up a legal class action against the US$31 billion Airbnb?
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