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Operations are being quietly handled within the walls of the NSW Department of Planning. The onslaught of short-term rentals will be given free reign from 01 November – in 10 days time. If one goes searching, searching, searching the DPIE’s website, one could stumble across a news item published yesterday, reminding anyone holding keys to residential housing in NSW to ‘register their short-term rentals’. In a statement, Planning Minister Rob Stokes is quoted as saying, “rules provide minimum standards for a previously unregulated industry”. Wrong! Legislation has always been in place, and our Courts have acknowledged and passed multiple judgments accordingly. Now however, for a mere $65 up front – payable to the NSW State Government - and then an annual payment of $25, Stokes and crew will permit anyone anywhere to substantially increase the income from an unlimited number of NSW homes, circumventing all established regulations and case law decisions covering the “illegal use” of residential housing for commercial tourist/visitor/party rentals. Here’s the DPIE’s news item:

NSW politicians must be held to the highest standards. NSW ICAC hearings give enough weight to this statement.

It is now well understood that Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes has used ministerial discretion to enact his State Environmental Planning Policy [SEPP] – (Affordable Rental Housing) Amendment (Short-term Rental Accommodation) 2021 under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Stokes’ SEPP deals with NSW residents' most expensive and precious assets: their homes. His SEPP also impacts the conditions under which residents live. The impacts on neighbouring residents, as acknowledged repeatedly by judgements of the NSW Land and Environment Court, are “severe”; the Court also judges that allowing short-term rentals to flourish and go unchecked ‘ultimately undermines the State’.

Stokes and his Department blocked certain individuals appearing before a Parliamentary Inquiry plus marked multiple submissions “confidential”. Opponents to plans to commercialise housing have been silenced for years.

Parliamentary colleagues of Minister Stokes voted on changes to short-term rental legislation, without disclosing that their STR properties were listed on Land and Environment Court Orders with Penal Notice – a clear ‘conflict of interest’. These MPs – yes, Stokes’ parliamentary colleagues - had their illegal short-term rentals listed on more than 155 booking platforms.

Stokes alone has used his ministerial discretion to circumvent Federal Building Codes, National Disability Access Legislation, multiple Coroners’ findings and instructions, a long line of judgments of the NSW Supreme Court and Land and Environment Court, legal documents covering the purchase of NSW residential property such as Section 10.7(149) Certificates under Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulations. We could go on…

Neither Minister Stokes, nor his Executive Director Housing and Economic Policy, NSW Planning, Industry & Environment, have answered any of the questions put to them to date on this matter.

NSW residents have “existing use rights”. In its dealings, the NSW Land and Environment Court considers these rights in order to protect private property owners when a planning regulation makes their formally lawful use of their land unlawful, and vice versa. And the laws of our state provide the boundaries within which those with authority must act. It would appear that the NSW Planning Minister has ignored all precedents and the proprietary rights of NSW residential title deed holders. Minister Rob Stokes – an “academic in environment and planning law” – would appear to have zero respect for Planning Principles and Consistency of Decisions.

NSW also has “planning principles”. A planning principle is a statement of a desirable outcome from a chain of reasoning aimed at reaching, or a list of appropriate matters to be considered in making, a planning decision – Attorney General & Justice. All ignored.

Elsewhere, Amsterdam: Only about 2,900 of their previous 16,200 Airbnb listings remain. Or, otherwise understood: Amsterdam has seen 13,300 (80%) of its Airbnb listings returned to its housing supply. Vienna: Airbnb has been forced to remove all its listings situated in the City’s municipal (social housing) apartment buildings. Other cities/regions that have now successfully banned or severely restricted Airbnb-type rentals include, but are certainly not limited to:

Half Moon Bay, City of Santa Rosa, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, Cathedral City, Palm desert, Indian Wells, Temecula, Anaheim, American Canyon, Atherton, Calistoga, Carlsbad, Cloverdale, Coronado, Dana Point, Danville, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Healdsburg, Hermosa Beach, Irvine, Mammoth Lakes, Napa City and County, Ojai, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, St. Helena, Sunnyvale, Tiburon, West Hollywood, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, The City of Orange, Laguna Beach, Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe, San Diego, Yorba Linda, Carmel By The Sea, Yountville, Seal Beach, Murrieta, Carmel, Calabasas, Sonoma County, Huntington Beach, Sausalito, Pacific Grove, Piedmont (60 days per year max, no granny flats), Manhattan Beach, Monterey, Santa Cruz , Berkeley, Paso Robles, Mountain View, Truckee, Buena Park, Glendale, La Mirada, Sausalito, Newport Beach (ban in residential zones), San Leandro, Norco, Taos, New Orleans, St Tammany, Nantucket, Austin, Steilacoom, Southport NC, New York City, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Syracuse, Boston, Jersey City, Breckenridge, Durango, Miami Beach, Charleston, Atlanta, Washington County, Utah, Jacksonville, Nashville, Honolulu, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Singapore, Mallorca, the entire country of Japan.

NSW residents are entitled to know Rob Stokes’ justification/s for implementing this SEPP. This SEPP has major ramifications for residents’ home lives and housing availability and affordability across our State. In terms of transparency, residents must know what has triggered such – one could say – reckless changes to legislation. Only then can NSW residents either accept Stokes’ decision or level just punishment on the Hon Member and his government at the next State election.

#Right2Housing Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits Neighbours not Strangers


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