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Councillors at Byron Shire were “given 45 minutes notice” this morning that Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Ben Franklin MLC were to make an announcement at Council Offices on Short-Term Holiday Letting. At the time of writing:

  • Nothing as yet has appeared on the Department of Planning or Minister Roberts' websites,

  • Here is the National’s Ben Franklin MLC outside Byron Council Chambers,

  • Following is a statement from Ben Franklin MLC (taken from a photo of crumpled sheet of paper sent to us):

"Monday 11 February 2019


Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, today unveiled new planning rules to deliver certainty for communities and councils about short-term rental accommodation (STRA) in their areas, thanks in large part to the advocacy of Ben Franklin, Nationals candidate for Ballina.

Mr Roberts said the reforms recognise the estimated $31 billion annual contribution of STRA to the Australian economy, while providing clarity for STRA hosts, neighbours and local councils.

"We've sought feedback from Councils, hosts and the community on new planning rules for STRA in NSW, to strike a balance between residents' opportunities to participate in the shared economy and the needs and peaceful enjoyment of the community.

Set to apply from late-2019 to allow hosts and Councils to prepare, the new planning rules will regulate the number of days that a dwelling can be used for STRA per year and make dwellings safer for guests.

Mr Roberts said that if re-elected a Liberals-Nationals Government would introduce caps of 180 days per calendar year to apply when the host is not present in STRA properties in metropolitan Sydney and some regional areas.

"I recognise that STRA has put increased pressure on some communities" he said.

"I've listened to regional councils who are concerned there are more tourists than permanent residents in some streets. Community cohesion is a corner stone of this Government, and the new rules show Government is listening," Mr Roberts said.

"I have met with Byron Shire Council and Ben Franklin, who have highlighted the high concentration and unique impacts of STRA on some parts of their community", he said.

"Following Ben's advocacy, I am satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances in Byron Shire and have decided to issue a Ministerial Direction which invites Byron Shire to lead the way by proposing 90 day thresholds in the most impacted towns of the LGA. Council can now begin the preparation of a planning proposal to make this happen."

"It will be important that Byron Shire Council consult with the community, because different towns and villages will have different needs. A one size fits all approach will not work" Mr Franklin said."…

In the two years to December 2018, the Shoalhaven area has seen Airbnb listings increase 541% - Shoalhaven has more Airbnb listings than Byron. In Port Stephens, Airbnb properties are up 970%, Shell Harbour 885%, Kiama 674%, Parkes 667%, Snowy Rivers 620%, Kempsey 620%, Great Lakes 583%, Wagga Wagga 565%, Newcastle 534%, Tumut 440%, Cessnock 425%, Gosford 422%, Bathurst 420%, Eurobodalla 417%, Wyong 411%, Tweed 321%, and Ballina 192%...​(Data: Inside Airbnb).

Minister Roberts continues to quote figures commissioned and volunteered by Airbnb. There is still no disclosure of the NSW Government’s corporate partnerships with Expedia Inc (HomeAway/Stayz) and other online travel agents.

Ben Franklin MLC has not mentioned NSW Land and Environment Court case law judgments on STRA. Legal opinion would indicate that placing Residential Title Deed Holders into short-term rental precincts would invalidate the terms and conditions under which residential property has been purchased in NSW; conditions that expressly prohibit short-term rentals. The proposal presented today also appears to ignore the conditions under which accredited accommodation providers operate, their financial contributions to our communities, and their rights to a ‘level playing field’.

Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits

Neighbours not Strangers

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