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Some time ago now, in a hearing room in the NSW Parliament and before a bench of State MPs, sat Tim McKibbin, Chief Executive Officer, Real Estate Institute of NSW; beside him sat Rick Wraight, Director, Tea Gardens Real Estate and Holidaypaws (currently 99 homes plus 407 homes respectively short-term let). At the time Wraight was also Director of the Holiday Rental Industry Association, now ASTRA. The testimony given to Parliament by both men makes for interesting reading. McKibbin, an ‘Accountant and Lawyer’, and by way of circumventing clear differences between residential and commercial property and their different uses, told committee members:

“Somebody has bought an investment property; they expect a return. That looks commercial to me. What I cannot reconcile is that if that is commercial then in the residential market – when somebody buys an investment property, rents it out and gets a return – that too must be commercial. In one instance it is classified as residential and in the other one it is classified commercial. I think we have to say that they are both commercial or that they are both residential. You decide where you are going to let them land. I cannot see the difference between the two activities.”

(And personally, whilst gagged by the Parliament and sitting in that room listening to these men and the limp questions put to them by MPs, one was utterly infuriated.)

As of last December, the Hon Anthony Roberts MP finds himself back in the role of NSW Planning Minister. He has also been given the title of Minister for Housing. Roberts was Planning Minister when, in July 20017 – and together with now Treasurer Matt Kean MP - he signed off on an ‘Options Paper’ – Short-term Holiday Letting in NSW: “In 2014, there were an estimated 216,000 STHL (short-term holiday letting) premises in NSW/ACT.” In a recent address to Parliament on the issue of homelessness and the recent floods in northern NSW, Minister Roberts said:

“Right now the Government is looking at ways of increasing (housing) supply by cutting assessment time frames and unlocking new housing through infrastructure investment. We are working closely with local governments to incentivise new development and give greater flexibility for all types of accommodation. Our focus is on boosting housing supply and improving housing access in the regions, all by building on recommendations from the Regional Housing Taskforce. The New South Wales Government is continuing to explore all options in support of the recent flood victims, particularly prioritising what we can do now for short-term rental accommodation to assist in housing for victims…I will continue to work to…provide more long-term accommodation to those who need it, using every lever available to the Government.”

While waiting for thousands of homes to be built, Minister Roberts could and should work alongside the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Wendy Tuckerman MP; to start with, they must rescind Rob Stokes MP’s Short-Term Rental SEPP and then mandate that local councils enforce residential zoning. Why?

Over the last few days, we’ve looked at some 136 New South Wales Property Agents. Between them they currently have 259 homes listed as available for residential tenancies – an average of less than two homes per agent. Oh, but these same 136 agents are advertising and profiting from 42,532 holiday rentals. Should we look for more?

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

Neighbours not Strangers


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