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Sabrina Behunin has cracked ‘the 300-mark’. As of today, Sabrina has 306 homes listed on Airbnb with numbers climbing daily. Rampant corporatisation of Residential Housing? And regrettably Sabrina is not alone.

Up on the NSW North Coast, John Gudgeon from the Holiday Letting Organisation has this week emailed those operating short-term rentals in breach of Residential Zoning:

“We have confirmation that the relentless anti-STRA position is still being pursued by the Byron Shire Council….It seems incredible that the BSC is prepared to make such outlandish demands without hard data to support the claims of such things (as) lack of affordable housing and an overwhelming destruction of amenity and local culture due to STRA. Whilst acknowledging that there is certainly some contribution to these issues, we also know that it is being grossly exaggerated…The message that Byron Shire is well and thriving largely due to STRA, not in spite of it, needs to be hammered home to our NSW State politicians.”

The ALP’s candidate for the State seat of Ballina, Asren Pugh, has slammed Airbnb’s Ireland’s campaign to influence the March 2019 State Elections. Byron’s Echo Netdaily quotes Greens Ballina MP Tamara Smithand Deputy Mayor Cr Michael Lyon on Airbnb Ireland’s intrusion into local and state politics. In turn, The Airbnb Team’s” Julian Crowley has slammed Council’s decision “to protect (its) community…”:

“We are determined to make sure their (Airbnb Landlords’) voices are heard loud and clear by elected officials of all political persuasions…(The) NSW Opposition supports policies which would make home sharing and travel harder and more expensive. Policies that would benefit the big end of town - not working families or local communities...(or the US$31 billion Airbnb)."

“Given the current estimate of short-term holiday-let properties online is some 2,900, and increasing, something needs to be done to protect our community’s right to residential areas that are filled with neighbours not tourists.”

So - thanks to Linkedin - let’s look at just a few of Airbnb’s Sydney Staff and their work history and ponder whether there is and always has been a direct strategy to influence our State’s decision makers. We’ll leave it to you to imagine the scope of Airbnb’s commercial objectives when it comes to homes and residential communities across NSW. The Airbnb contagion continues unchecked:

BRENT THOMAS - Head of Public Policy, Australasia, South Asia and South East Asia at Airbnb (formerly)

Ministerial Chief of Staff (Carl Scully - Labor), NSW Government, Feb 2001 – Jun 2006

Councillor, Hurstville Council

JULIAN CROWLEY - Public Affairs Manager Australia & New Zealand at Airbnb (formerly)

Senior Adviser to NSW Minister for Ageing, Disability Services and Multiculturalism, John Ajaka MLC, Jan 2016-Dec 2016

Adviser to NSW Attorney General, Gabrielle Upton - Liberal (now Minister for Local Government), Apr 2015 – Jan 2016

Adviser to Minister for Family and Community Services, Apr 2014 – Apr 2015

Adviser to Minister for Sport and Recreation NSW Government, Feb 2013 – Apr 2014

HUW PHILLIPS - Public Policy Associate at Airbnb (formerly)

Councillor Support Officer (Linda Scott - Labor, President of Local Government NSW), City of Sydney, Oct 2012 – Apr 2016

Assistant Secretary, NSW Young Labor, Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch), 2012-2014

MARIA CATANZARITI - Public Relations Manager, Australia & New Zealand at Airbnb (formerly)

Communications Manager Twitter (Twitter has ‘teamed up’ with AirbnbAu and bans critics of Airbnb), Mar 2014 – Nov 2016

Media Adviser, Department of Premier and Cabinet (NSW), Feb 2008 – Mar 2011

Councillor’s Office, City of Sydney, Feb 2007 – Feb 2008

Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits

Neighbours not Strangers

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