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NSW State Government Prioritises Tourism Over Home Owners’ Rights

The State Government’s Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase writes today: “Destination NSW works in partnership with a range of tourism and travel trade partners to fulfil its principal objective…which is to achieve economic and social benefits for the people of NSW through the development of tourism and securing major events…Destination NSW does not carry out regulatory functions, therefore the questions…regarding compliance with legislation, regulations and other activities provided by third parties fall outside our remit and should be referred to the relevant organisation.”

In 2015 a four-year-old boy died in a holiday house fire near Adaminaby. The Coroner’s Report into this tragic incident is not available online, unlike so many others. Was the holiday rental property and the family’s booking facilitated by one the NSW State Government’s ‘official arms’, Destination NSW or National Parks NSW?

The NSW Land and Environment Court judges that one residential dwelling used for short-term tourist/visitor rentals “offends and undermines the planning regime” of a Local Government Authority. Destination NSW takes no responsibility when well in excess of 216,000 residential dwellings are used as non-accredited tourist facilities. Residential Title Deed holders’ proprietary rights count for nothing in the eyes of our State Parliament.

A story two days ago on Yamba as the NSW ‘go-to holiday destination’ has seen our Facebook posting reach over 4,100 readers. Located in the Clarence Valley Shire, Yamba and surrounds, in the two-year period to December 2018, saw homes lost to Airbnb alone up 339%. As well, many Yamba Real Estate Agents focus on diverting homes away from tenants for short-stay holiday purposes, with Clarence Valley Council among those failing to enforce Residential Zoning.

Sydneysider Stuart Zadel (photo) spruiks that he has “educated more than 50,000 Australians“ in the art of using an “Airbnb strategy to generate income by leveraging OTHER people’s property (to deliver) a 6-figure annual income”. Are properties being sublet on Airbnb by fans of Mr Zadel without the approval of the Owners of the properties? Stuart Zadel has over 61,000 followers on Twitter, while Neighbours Not Strangers finds itself banned from the Twitter platform.

Property Management Agent MaisonNets was one of five Sydney ‘Hosts’ who generated 28,000 bookings for Airbnb in 2018. Airbnb treated staff members to a celebratory dinner (see photo). MaisonNets channels NSW homes through a very large number of foreign booking platforms, not just Airbnb.

A month ago we wrote to NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro about the short-term rental of his $5 million Dungowan Estate. Multiple questions on the subject of ‘compliance’ were put to the Hon. Member, plus he was asked how operations such as his were not disadvantaging Owners of small businesses such as Guest Houses, Bed & Breakfasts, Motels, and Backpacker Lodges etc. Scott Farlow MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and Leader of the House of Legislative Council, wrote that our comments and correspondence to John Barilaro had been noted and that he would “bring them to the Premier’s attention at the first available opportunity”. Nothing further has been heard from either party.

No surprise that there is silence from the NSW Small Business Commissioner on the plight of Small Business Owners.

Tourism Accommodation Australia was reportedly the first such organisation in the world to partner with an Online Travel Agency on short-term holiday rentals; they chose the NSW Government/Destination NSW’s ‘partner’, Expedia/HomeAway/ Stayz. Accredited accommodation providers must now rely on the Accommodation Association of Australia to represent their interests. Missing seems to be the vocal lobbying seen in so many other jurisdictions where short-term rentals impact so dramatically on business owners, small and large.

And NSW Members of Parliament ignore individuals and Residents Groups whose proprietary rights are being abused.

Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits

Neighbours not Strangers

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