24.3 C
Byron Shire
September 25, 2022

Greens, ALP slam Sydney-centric holiday-let rules

Latest News

West Byron flooding

All east coast communities are now daily regularly warned by the ABC radio/TV, by the Bureau of Meteorology, to...

Other News

Public transport mask mandate to end

Masks will no longer be mandatory on public transport from tomorrow, Wednesday 21 September.

Were you affected by the floods or landslides? 

What were the effects of the February floods on you, your home, your property, your neighbours and your community? How could the response have been more effective and better assisted you and those around you to recover?

Frustrated train support

I gather Mr Clitheroe (comments on The Echo online: www.echo.net.au/rail-trail-option-to-be-explored) was present at Murwillumbah Railway Station on 24 September...

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Being Ready

I used to love the sound of rain. Now, like many others, it frightens me. It reminds me that...

Putting your ‘Queen’ money where your mouth is

I've never felt much either way about the Queen. I've never held her in as much disdain as I've held some of our prime ministers, and never held her in as much esteem as I have held, for example, Uncle Archie Roach.

Something about Ash and Sara

The Rock & Roll Coffee Company is proud to present the second showcase in their Something About Songwriters series featuring...

The Greens have slammed a state government proposal that would allow landlords to holiday-let their properties six months of the year. Photo: AirbnbSecrets

Chris Dobney

People renting out their empty Sydney properties through online home-sharing services will soon be subject to state government restrictions.

But they won’t affect properties in the rest of NSW unless individual councils act.

Within greater Sydney, owners who don’t live in their property will be able to use it for short-term letting for a maximum of 180 days a year.

The six-month maximum can also apply to regional towns but only if councils directly act to implement it.

The proposal, announced by the NSW government on Tuesday, specifically targets vacant and investment properties using services such as Airbnb and HomeAway.

Greens slam plan

The changes have drawn the ire of the Greens, with both Byron Cr Michael Lyon and Ballina MP Tamara Smith slamming the move.

Cr Lyon said the state government had ‘failed the community of Byron Shire’.

‘They have adopted a one-size fits all policy framework, which has not recognised the needs of our community,’ he added.

‘The continuing loss of housing stock in Byron to short-term holiday letting (STHL), that is seeing scores of families having to leave every month, has not been addressed.

‘It has now been opened up, and will mean Byron, which we on the Council want to be a showcase of sustainability to the world, is a free-for-all market where locals will be priced out to satisfy unsustainable tourism.

‘It would have been simple, give Councils the ability to… not allow out-of-town or non-resident landlords to let short-term. This would protect long-term housing stock and ensure that the community of Byron have places to live,’ he said.

Cr Lyon added he would be ‘very interested to see the conflict of interest declarations lodged by members of the government when this is lodged on the floor of parliament’.

Ms Smith described the policy as ‘another example of the NSW Government consulting but not listening to the community’.

‘The Greens welcome a mandatory code of conduct but ultimately local councils will be left to manage the impacts and they are best placed to regulate the short-term holiday let market,’ she added.

‘Many of these properties operate like accommodation businesses and should face local development controls.

‘The NSW Greens support a sharing economy but it shouldn’t have negative consequences for communities. The government has failed to get the balance right with these new regulations,’ Ms Smith said.

More flexibility: Labor

Labor’s Ballina candidate, Asren Pugh, said the new laws ‘need to take into account the social cost of having entire communities turned into mini hotels’.

‘At a minimum, there needs to be special consideration for tourist hotspots like Byron Bay where these laws won’t work,’ he said.

‘Byron Shire in particular needs a more nuanced approach to holiday letting. We need a system that gives more power to local communities to decide what is appropriate for their own towns and we may need different rules for different areas in the shire.

‘For example, you may want to allow holiday letting all year round on the beach front, while protecting other residential suburbs by limiting it to 60 or 90 days per year,’ Mr Pugh said.

Protection of residents

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) said the government was seeking to deliver ‘a careful balance between the local economic benefits of short-term holiday letting and the protection of long-term residents’.

President Linda Scott said, ‘obviously one size does not fit all when it comes to different regions’.

‘LGNSW has consistently argued that individual councils are best placed to determine the caps that would best balance economic development via short-term accommodation with rental affordability and public amenity for residents,’ Cr Scott said.

Two-strike policy

The laws will also impose a ‘two strike’ policy, meaning home-share users will be banned for five years from any platform for committing two serious breaches within two years.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said the reforms ‘recognise the estimated $31 billion annual contribution of online booking platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway (formerly Stayz) to the Australian economy, while stamping out party houses through a mandatory Code of Conduct’.

The Code will also include a new dispute resolution process to resolve complaints, and NSW Fair Trading will have powers to police online platforms and letting agents.

– with AAP


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. The State Government has entered into a cosy relationship with Airbnb, a multinational that pays no corporate tax in Australia. Interesting that US based Chris Lehane, head of global policy for Airbnb, was in Sydney yesterday for the announcement by Ministers Roberts and Kean. Was this just a coincidence?

    The community will be very interested in the fine detail of this policy. I don’t hold out any hope for real protection of residential amenity.

  2. Yes 180 days is half the year. Take away the day between each stay required for cleaning and the inevitable gaps between bookings and it’s basically business as usual – some restriction! Also I assume no provision to introduce registration fees that would put theses businesses on some sort of an even footing with hotels, motels and legitimate BnBs. No mention of oversight of commercial health and safety standards. Clayton’s regulation.

    The coalition might be looking after the multinational corporate sphere but they are proving they are no friend to their one-time constituency of the mainstream business community. As for being worried about housing affordability (rental or freehold) for the young or vulnerable – forget it!

    Vale Byron Bay

  3. State Minister for Fair Trading and Innovation Mat Kean states that they are having a “crackdown on Airbnb”.
    He must be joking! This is the crackdown when you are not having a crackdown. The Clayton’s crackdown.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Odd row of lights

Just following up the letter from Sarah Smith in the August 31 issue. It was a Starlink satellite train. My webcam captured the scene. Michael...

Trampling of the graves of the murdered: reply to Will Liley

As I read Will Liley’s response to my article in dedication to my late uncle, I recalled the poem in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel Clandestine in Chile:

Murwillumbah mega-school merger public meeting on Monday

Opposition to the merger of the four Murwillumbah Schools, which includes two primary and two high schools, remains strong. Monday will see Leader of the NSW opposition MP Chris Minns and local MP Janelle Saffin joining concerned parents, students and community members at a town hall meeting in Murwillumbah on Monday at 5.30pm.

Byron Council looking at rain damage

Byron Shire Council says they have staff out and about across the Shire today assessing damage from the rain.