AIRBNB and STAYZ – SCALING THE HEIGHTS and HITTING THE SKIDS
The NSW Shire of Tweed is located within shouting distance of and suffers the overflow from the Gold Coast’s Airbnb contagion. The Tweed Daily News reports (24/05/19) the promotion of State MP Geoff Provest to Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism and Major Events. Provest – “Airbnb and Stayz are here to stay” - told the Tweed Daily he “believes there is an opportunity for regional NSW - especially the Tweed Shire - to build in the tourism sector”.
Accommodation giant, Expedia/Stayz, has “hit out” at Tweed Shire Council, telling the Tweed Daily (12/07/19) that it is critical of Council’s threat to impose $3,000 fines on property owners unless they cancel bookings and cease illegal operations. According to Council, “local residents are now being forced to move away from the Tweed Shire area as there are no places for long-term rentals. This leads to a loss of community. Residents have sold up and moved away because of poor behaviour by short-term rental tenants nearby…” Tweed Shire might make ratepayers’ and its job easier by taking Expedia/Stayz to the NSW Land and Environment Court where, under the provisions of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, using its powers to obtain information, Council could seek the maximum monetary penalty in the case of a corporation of $1 million and for a continuing offence a further $10,000 for each day the offence continues.
Will State MP Geoff Provest – annual total remuneration $203,030 excluding base electoral allowance of $58,420, or a minimum of $261,450/year - act in the interests of Residents and Local Council, or boost the profits of Stayz/Airbnb?
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has welcomed State Labor Leader and Airbnb landlord Jodi McKay’s announcement (03/07/19) of Daniel Mookhey MLC as shadow minister for the gig economy, finance and small business. In its announcement the TWU omitted the Labor Leader’s failure to answer questions over her Airbnb property, or the TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbnb and online jobs platform and Airbnb facilitator, Airtasker. Since teaming up with the US$35 billion Airbnb, Tony Sheldon has joined the Federal Senate and is now “blasting companies like Google and Facebook for failing our economy and our democracy”. No mention however of Airbnb in Senator Sheldon’s maiden speech this week in the Federal Parliament.
NSW Upper House MP David Shoebridge labelled Residents seeking protection of housing and accredited Bed & Breakfast owners as “smacking of entitlement”. Then this yesterday from our brand new ‘gig economy’ Shadow Minister: “We need to embrace Uber, Airbnb and the sharing economy, not fight the tide.” From where and whom is this Minister deriving his income?
When Airbnb says it is co-operating with cities around the world, the truth is, it is not. In the last few days, Airbnb has been suspended from the Amsterdam Economic Board’s Network Council and is in jeopardy of being terminated from the Board altogether. The site is accused of refusing to reduce the number of days that homes can be rented.
The ABC has reported on the grim prediction for regional motels as Airbnb and online booking sites add unprecedented pressure on small, accredited accommodation providers; understand that this refers to those who are still managing to operate small businesses in NSW.
In London a tenant has been fined £100,000 and evicted for renting a council flat on Airbnb. Meanwhile Sydney Airbnb landlords are reported to have lost $3.6m as one Airbnb ‘entrepreneur’ goes bust. One NSW Resident has written: “Perhaps there is a god after all.”