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‘Almost as Byron as Byron.’ So says the headline in the Travel section of Mamamia, which bills itself as “Australia’s largest independent women’s media group”. Mamamia ‘Head of Content’ Holly Wainwright and family enjoyed a “courtesy” visit thanks to Expedia (Stayz) at Blue Island Culburra Beach, one of three homes advertised for short-term holiday rentals by Director of Higher Education at TAFE NSW, Anne Normoyle. This Culburra Beach property is zoned “Residential – A”. Blue Island is also available via Airbnb and the State Government’s VisitNSW websites, amongst others. Entry to Blue Island is advertised as ‘self check-in with keypad’. Mamamia Sales Manager Amy McKean writes on Facebook:

The influential Mamamia talent, Holly Wainwright, Mia Freedman, Clare & Jessie Stephens and Tegan Natoli and their families are taking road trips that are shared on social, podcasts and through written content.”

We wrote to Holly Wainwright and asked if Expedia made any financial payment to Mamamia for this coverage, or whether contra family stays were the sole trigger for their article. No response was received. And Mamamia is correct; Culburra Beach and the Shoalhaven Local Government area have similar rates of Airbnb penetration as the Byron Shire.

The Mamamia article was part of Expedia’s latest PR campaign - #RoadTripPledge. Tourism Australia is an official partner; the Tourism Australia website takes one directly to the two Culburra Beach properties operated by Anne Normoyle – the second at 149 The Marina Culburra Beach - plus a (residential) Copacabana property owned by Central Coast Director at Holiday Rental Solutions Donat Kobeleff and wife Debbie. The Kobeleff’s Del Monte Place dwelling appears to be still languishing on the open property market.

NSW Police intend to issue up to 60 people with COVID-19-related Penalty Infringement Notices of $1,000 each. Thirty people were arrested overnight after refusing a move-on directive; additional separate penalties will be issued for this second infringement. Questions are put to Canterbury Bankstown Council and Mayor as to whether or not the owner/s of the property at 12 Nottingham Street, Schofields will be issued with a penalty under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act; the same query is directed in relation to Airbnb (now pulled from their platform) for their aiding and abetting of the “illegal use” of a residential dwelling. Given our most senior State MPs are profiting handsomely from Airbnb income - John Barilaro’s Airbnb is booked every weekend except one through to mid-October and weekend bookings for Jodi McKay’s Airbnb are relatively healthy also – will a blind eye continue to be turned in terms of such blatant infringements? It’s New South Wales. One suspects we know the answer.

While we’re at it, the multi-billion dollar Airbnb is being ripped apart for asking clients to donate money to its pitiful landlords. And The Independent is reporting that one woman in the UK has infected at least 71 with COVID-19 after using the lift in her tower block, while calls for action from NSW Strata Residents are still ignored by State and Local Government legislators.

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