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Byron Shire
April 12, 2021

Holiday let plan flawed

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The ‘cunning plan’ to solve the dreaded holiday let imbroglio reported last week in Echonetdaily has all the merit of one devised by Baldrick of Blackadder fame. Unfortunately such simplistic concoctions tend to have great appeal to the chronically ill-informed, which I would hope does not include the editorial staff of The Echo.

So what’s wrong with it?

To get off the ground holiday letting in residential zones would need to be a legally legitimate activity – current legal precedents and the council LEP say it is not – so a court finding or state government decision is still a requirement.

As the currently illegal holiday letters are still enjoying a free ride it is unlikely that a necessary percentage would sign up to any scheme involving extra cost to themselves. The same goes for the agents who would fear a loss of business as their customers ‘go feral’ and big costs loom.

Even assuming enough punters signed up and legality was somehow achieved, an expensive administrative organisation would need to be created to run the accounting, the compliance and the inspection etc requirements. This would involve a permanent staff and big bucks. Council could not play any part, so who would pay?

Appropriate insurance cover with much-enhanced fire and safety provisions would have to be enforced and monitored. Also a new scale of council service charges would have to be imposed for the newly legitimate ‘tourist facilities’.

Judging by the non-comments of the holiday let lobby and its cool response at their recent, exclusive consultation with Council, it can be assumed they would not go along – and why would they? The routinely unconsulted residents’ groups will rightly see this as another ploy set up to fail like the current HL Code whitewash.

These and other problems have been constantly pointed out to the originator of the scheme but like the science of coastal erosion and the logic of staff advice on asset sales, nothing goes in.


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