AIRBNB RESPONDS TO UPCOMING EU DIGITAL SERVICES ACTWhile Fire Engulfs Palm Beach Airbnb Boat House
Four days ago, on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House, NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance, Centre for Maritime Safety Executive Director Bernard Carlon and NSW Police Marine Area Command Commander Acting Superintendent Joe McNulty, handed out a Media Release paper and gave a brief presentation to a small assembly of journalists. Minister Constance: "Five people have sadly lost their lives on NSW waters since the start of July. None of them were wearing a lifejacket, but all of them left behind grieving families…we are seeing too many people flouting boating safety rules, or unaware of them. Heavy fines would be handed out." At least The West Australian picked up and ran the story.
No sooner had Minister Constance announced that fines would be enforce than a ‘luxury Airbnb houseboat hotel’ was totally destroyed by fire; four fire engines and two Rural Fire Service boats responded – a Fire and Rescue NSW spokesman said two people had self-evacuated (jumped) from the boat and were uninjured. This floating Airbnb was located at Palm Beach, under the nose of NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes in his electorate of Pittwater. The listing for this property has disappeared from Airbnb’s platform as we write. Minister Constance: Fines for non-compliance/non-accredited boating/tourist accommodation?
In another Media promo (17/09/2020): “Airbnb Welcomes Progress Towards a New EU Digital Services Act”. Submissions to the European Commission closed on 08 September. Airbnb claims to support ‘Safety and Trust’, including a global ban on parties and events, prevent bookings to some under 25-year olds in three European countries, noise control pilots in several cities, a safety centre, and enhanced cleaning protocols for ‘hosts’. “Airbnb wants to work with everyone to find common solutions and set clear, consistent and proportionate rules.” Airbnb’s submission also claims to “encourages greater clarity for governments about how data can be accessed for legitimate purposes, while respecting the EU’s privacy rules”. It must be noted that the contents of this ‘Submission’ would seem in stark contrast to the ‘Indemnification’ clause in Airbnb’s Terms of Service – all platform users must agree that Airbnb is blameless for anything and everything which befalls those using the platform.
And in a sign that there may be little faith in Airbnb’s IPO, another high-profile executive has decided to ‘jump ship’. Joe Zadeh, Airbnb’s Chief Stakeholder Officer, has decided that his ’10-year ride’ with the outfit must end. One commentator remarked: “Is everything on target in the evolution of Airbnb’s Experiences business? It’s clearly not profitable yet after three years, and the leadership change at the top signals problems. That doesn’t mean it’s fatally flawed although this isn’t precisely the portrait you want to paint on the cusp of Airbnb going public...” — Dennis Schaal, Skift
Minister Rob Stokes - still awaiting the publication of submissions to the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment’s Discussion Paper "Short Term Rental Accommodation A New Regulatory Framework" – deadline was 11 September, 2019!