Highlighting the need for action on the increasing tourist pressure on Byron Bay, Councillor Paul Spooner was featured on the ABC News Breakfast show this morning as part of a program looking at the increased pressure that short term rentals are putting on the housing market and infrastructure.
‘We need the reality of situations of places like Byron to be highlighted to convince the state government to change,’ Spooner told The Echo.
Approximately 15 per cent of accommodation in the Byron shire is now dedicated to short term letting and the pressure from the tourist trade accounts for around 30 per cent of infrastructure costs according to Spooner.
‘We have just had a 33.5 per cent rate rise to fill the gap in our infrastructure needs,’ he continued.
The profit to be made from short term letting through groups like Airbnb is leaving many locals in the position where they can no longer secure stable and affordable housing.
Byron council is currently looking at ways to create a register of short term accommodation providers with a view to the possibility of a bed tax or other similar option, however, the state government would need to provide the legislation to support such a move.
‘We need to develop specific proposals to present to the state government so that we are one of the areas that gets to trial these ideas,’ said Spooner.
‘I’m currently looking at getting this onto the state agenda for the next Labor party conference in July. I am hoping to get the support to get a trail set up in this area.
It needs to happen here – yesterday.’