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Byron Shire
April 12, 2021

Polite holiday-let owners still break the law

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Last week Lois Vickery-Hall, who ‘owns a couple of holiday homes’, wrote that the solution to the illegal holiday letting issue is crooked owners ensuring their guests behave well. This is like the scene in Getting Square where a prisoner tells the parole board he has learnt his lesson about armed robbery: you have to have a professional attitude and deal courteously with your victims. Lois, no. What you are doing, if you are an illegal letter, is never, ever, okay.

Lois, you wrote that many people don’t want to be herded into a resort. Yes. But an illegal alternative is not an option. There are many things people don’t want to do. Obey the speed limit. Pay for their shopping. Put the gun down and back away with their hands up in the air. Drive sober.

That doesn’t mean you can go into an illegal business catering to their desires. Lois, you service a market, which is great, but there has never been anything stopping anyone from purchasing commercially zoned land and not building a hotel on it.

Many people manage to go their whole lives without building a hotel. I myself have not built several. You could have purchased commercially zoned land, built a house-style structure, rented it out, paid commercial rates, and there would be much rejoicing.

Instead, illegal operators cheat. They undercut the legal ones, so everyone has to sink to survive. Corruption for them means corruption of the entire system.

Illegal operators squeal when their activities are criticised. The rules, they think, should not apply to them. But they do, and they must. Operating illegal businesses is going to hurt them very, very badly, and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it.

Weather prediction: weeping, crying, gnashing of teeth. When the corruption train stops… oh, boy.

Matt Hartley, Byron Bay


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  1. Until the Planning Laws are changed, Byron Council is legally obliged to prosecute the illegal holiday let owners … It appears that the majority of our councillors are colluding with the business interests of the illegal holiday let owners. Shame on you councillors,


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