CORRUPTION? NSW PLANNING TO RUN WORKSHOPS FOR COUNCILSTO ASSIST IN CONVERTING RESIDENTIAL HOUSING


“In conjunction with new regulatory framework for short-term rental accommodation (STRA) being rolled out by the NSW Government”, NSW Planning is running a series of information sessions designed specifically for councils”. The NSW Environment Planning and Assessment Act (The Act), in terms of all residential dwellings (class 1a and class 2 buildings and class 4 part of a building), “prohibits a dwelling from being used for the purpose of short-term rental accommodation…This Regulation also revises the location of certain references to offences under the Environment Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 so that the maximum penalties for offences are attributed…” (The Regulation was made under The Act, including sections 6.34, 9.58 and 10.13 and Schedule 3, clause 3.)


Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, has submitted the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Short-term Rental Accommodation) Regulation 2021, which overturns current legislation, circumvents Federal Building Code stipulations and Disability Access Legislation, and allows the use of all residential housing for commercial tourist/visitor accommodation. Changes to The Act also put aside multiple clear and consistent judgments of the NSW Land and Environment Court and the findings of Coronial Inquiries.


And in order to assist NSW Local Government to dismantle established planning controls covering residential housing, NSW Planning is running a series of information sessions designed specifically for councils.


Government’s STRA policy includes a deferred commencement clause, “meaning the new planning rules won’t take effect until 30 July 2021…(to) ensure STRA hosts, councils and industry participants have sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the new rules before the policy takes effect.” For a global industry that always has and always will rely on non-compliance with all types of legislation, there is no doubt that any possible constructive elements within the new framework will be not adhered to. And the fact that the new Planning structure for residential housing guarantees any claim that a short-term rental has an on-site manager clearance to operate 365 days per year, and up to 365 days per year for non-staffed premises, leaves those in residential neighbourhoods, residential strata and company title buildings, plus those operating accredited B&Bs, motels, hotels etc, “disgusted”, “angry” and feeling “sold out”. “Our Development Approvals are worthless”, writes another.


If one has purchased a residential dwelling in NSW where the Development Approval clearly states that short-term rentals are prohibited, that DA is no longer valid; at any point in time residents may find themselves surrounded and overwhelmed by short-term rentals. If however Development Approval has previously been granted to operate an accredited short-term rental, such as a Bed and Breakfast, that DA is still valid, along with the need to pay all commercial rates and taxes plus meet all other costly legislative requirements. And that’s to say, those who have joined in commercial operations without DA and have to date operated illegally will be exempt from the charges and obligations that accredited operators must continue to pay and meet.


One resident writes:


“I have also noticed a decided lack of mentioning of short-term holiday letting in all news publications, I think I have only barely heard it from the ABC. One must question how there could be such collusion between governments and media in order to squash any possible bad press about short term holiday rentals. And how any media can stand there and debate the problems about a housing crisis without talking about short term holiday rentals. One must believe that here is a very powerful entity flexing its muscles leaving everyone either too scared to write or talk about it or very well compensated. We need some investigative journalism on this. Though that seems to be exactly what they wanted stopped.”


Given that we know Politicians and Policy Makers, their family members and friends are profiting directly from illegal short-term rentals, threats are made to media organisations to keep Airbnb and mob out of the press, while online trolling and serious threats are made to those who speak out about their personal negative, life-changing experiences, legislators the world over are hastily attempting to implement legislation which our Parliament is shredding. And, given that were denied an opportunity to address a parliamentary inquiry (which would have seen our position and documents recorded in Hansard), had submissions to Parliament either marked ‘confidential’ or gone unpublished, denied a voice during ‘consultation round-table meetings’, denied meetings with the Ministers responsible, seen our correspondence and questions left unanswered, one can but only agree that there is clearly collusion between the NSW Parliament and foreign owned online booking platforms, and that our due rights and the rights of those seeking safe, stable, affordable housing are being treated with contempt. To add utter insult to injury, given that Airbnb boasts we are their “most penetrated market in the world”, this ‘new planning framework’ is to be gazetted under Affordable Housing” and “Affordable Rental Housing SEPP.

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