D Wallace, Suffolk Park.
It was recently reported that Airbnb spokesperson Brent Thomas claims that mayor Simon Richardson is ‘demonising his Shire’s residents turning to home sharing to make a little extra income’.
Harsh words from a representative of a multinational company that pays no corporate tax in Australia.
Mayor Richardson is accurately portraying the negative effect of Airbnb on our community. Similar detrimental impacts have been documented in other countries.
Six months ago there were 2,650 Airbnb listings representing 17 per cent of the Byron Shire’s housing stock.
The reality is that 70 per cent of these listings represent whole homes, many owned by absentee owners.
Brent Thomas should do some research. Two years ago Byron Council changed the LEP to allow for one bedroom in a home to be holiday let as long as the owner is present. This allows for Airbnb’s ‘Mums and Dads’ to undertake true home sharing.
Short-term holiday letting of whole homes in residential zones in Byron Shire is development without consent, therefore an illegal and prohibited activity under the Byron LEP.