NSW HOMELESSNESS DEEMED ‘HUMANITARIAN CRISIS’
PLANNING MINISTER ROB STOKES HAPPY TO RIP UP 170 PLANNING RULES, POLICIES, GUIDELINES
Professors of Urban Science, City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales released a report today, assessing how an overall decline in Airbnb activity in Sydney due to the COVID-19 pandemic affected rental supply and prices. Briefly, they found that in active Airbnb neighbourhoods, the supply of long-term rental stock has increased in response to reduced Airbnb activity, and that results indicate that rental prices have fallen proportionately. Their findings: “…present a clear associated impact of declining Airbnb activity and a reduction in rental prices.” What then are the impacts, when large numbers leave our cities and more and more homes across regional NSW are being flipped onto short-term rental platforms?
Of late, the ABC and its reporters have been running multiple articles on the crash in residential vacancy rates in regional New South Wales and regional towns, homelessness in areas such as Port Stephens, the Central Coast, Mullumbimby, Coffs Harbour, Bega, Albury, North Coast and Northern Rivers, Byron, the Hunter region, Newcastle, Illawarra and Shoalhaven, and central Sydney. Concerns extend to a Federal level. “Byron (is) second only to Sydney for homelessness with countless women on the fringes of insecure housing.” And Social housing tenants could be evicted over $260 in arrears.
The ABC also notes that the recent Sydney exodus is driving regional property prices up and locals out of the market.
It is estimated that 47,000 women are homeless and another 400,000 women in Australia over 45 are at risk of homelessness. Unseen, a multimedia arts project which gives voice to the faces behind the statistics currently has their art installation at Walsh Bay.
How can NSW Councils possibly regulate multi-billion dollar offshore companies like Airbnb, Expedia/Stayz, Booking.com, tripadviser and hundreds more – companies that make their own rules? If the NSW Government is allowing short-term tourist/visitor rentals across our state, the State Government should be responsible for controlling every aspect of the process, from registration, booking, identity verification of platform users…right through to enforcement issues and criminal activity. Instead, our State Government is hiding behind a ‘Code of Conduct’, which is unenforceable.
Much more important in fact, Governments should legislate the #Right2Housing and in fact there are Guidelines that would guide governments – Local, State and Federal. The United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner has published guidelines for the implementation of the right to adequate housing. Leilani Fahar wrote these guidelines.
What happens to housing in New South Wales to Residents’ right to housing? Planning Minister Rob Stokes MP has a PhD in planning law completed under a Commonwealth scholarship. Yet the Minister has now “ripped up 170 planning rules, policies and guidelines”. And he’s happy about that. So let’s ask: how have Airbnb and Expedia been so successful in overturning NSW legislation?
#Right2Housing Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits Neighbours not Strangers