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“SILENCE STOKES FEARS” As Planning Minister Rob Stokes’ Department Colludes with Parks NSW & Des

Published in today’s Echo Net Daily is the following letter:

‘Silence stokes fears’, Doug Luke, VOHL

“More than one month ago Victims of Holiday Letting (VOHL) made a written query to NSW Planning Minister, Mr Rob Stokes.

An extract: ‘It has been more than one year since submissions for the Discussion Paper “Short Term Rental Accommodation A New Regulatory Framework” closed on 11 September, 2019. These submissions have not been publicly released.

‘On page 4 of this Discussion Paper it states, “All submissions will be made publicly available. Government is required by law to release that information”.

‘Further, it states “It is also a statutory requirement that all submissions are provided to the Legislative Review Committee of Parliament”. Has this legislative requirement been undertaken?

‘Submissions to the first public exhibition “Explanation of Intended Effect STRA Planning Framework” closed on 16 November, 2018. Submissions were made public within two months of this date.

‘I am seeking an explanation as to why there has been an inordinate delay in publication of these submissions and the future date that this oversight will be corrected.’

At the time of writing this letter, submissions have still not been published. Neither Mr Stokes, nor his ministerial staff have responded to the query. Department of Planning staff confirmed that the submissions had been sent to Mr Stokes some time previously.

VOHL is perplexed about why the submissions have not been published, as required by law. Publication should not have been delayed by the pandemic.

Could it be that the NSW government is concealing something? Perhaps it is the reported submission from Fire and Rescue NSW that was critical of the proposed Fire Safety standard in the policy.

Is this another example of a lack of transparency from the NSW government?”

On 01 September 2020 Neighbours Not Strangers wrote to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), seeking advice on what the Department was planning, with regards to our Residential Title Deeds and the Conditions of the Development Approvals on our homes. Minister Stokes and the DPIE/State Government were asked if they were still planning on retrospectively setting aside residential zoning, title deeds and proprietary rights without compensation. ‘James’ from the DPIE replied (02 October):

“Submissions received during the exhibition period on the Government’s proposed STRA planning framework are still being considered as part of the development of the policy. The Department will seek to have submissions made publicly available following the conclusion of this review.

The proposed draft STRA State Environmental Planning Policy has not yet been made. Until such time as the policy is in force, short-term rental accommodation remains the responsibility of the local council through the administration of Local Environmental Plans.”

We did ask ‘James’ to identify himself and his position within the DIPE and whether he could nominate one NSW Council that is enforcing residential zoning. No reply has been forthcoming.

Neighbours Not Strangers’ Submission to the DPIE in response to its Draft Statement Environmental Planning Policy (Short-term Rental Accommodation) 2019 included a ‘Coroner’s Report on Dispensing with an Inquest’ plus a NSW Police ‘Statement of Police’. Both related to a 2015 fire in a holiday rental in the NSW Snowy Region. There, a four-year-old child was burnt to death. The agent who rented the property later changed its trading name and persists with such rentals. Today, it has 57 homes listed as holiday rentals.

Such tragedies and Coroners’ directions, Parliamentary Inquiries and repeated calls for Submissions on illegal short-term rentals hasn’t stopped our Department of Planning, Parks NSW and Destination NSW colluding on illegal short-term rentals. Nor do the contents of submissions dissuade Government Departments profiting from tourist/visitor accommodation that closely resembles other illegal rentals in which occupants have lost their lives.

Byron residents ask if the NSW Government is concealing something and whether their handling of illegal short-term rentals is another example of ‘lack of transparency’ from our State Government. Government’s failure to disclose Destination NSW’s collaboration with online booking platforms, its intention to circumvent Federal legislation and NSW case law judgments – not to mention its disregard for the proprietary rights of NSW Residents - is, in our opinion, appalling. Minister Rob Stokes, your response please?

Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits

Neighbours not Strangers

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