19.7 C
Byron Shire
November 30, 2021

Greens, ALP slam Sydney-centric holiday-let rules

Latest News

Flood warning for Richmond and Wilsons Rivers

A deepening low pressure trough through the northeast of the state is expected to bring rain and thunderstorms during Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the State Emergency Service.

Other News

What’s Nu in COVID variants? Highlighted need for stronger Australian contribution

According to the End COVID For All campaign the emergence of a new coronavirus variant in Botswana, most likely to be called 'Nu', underlines the need for Australia to step up its contribution to co-oridnated global efforts to prevent the virus’ spread and mutation.

From ‘struggle street’ to Ballina’s only woman running for mayor: Cr Cadwallader’s Echo Q&A

Independent Ballina Shire Councillor Sharon Cadwallader is the only woman in the shire running for mayor and arguably one of the most competitive candidates.

Biodiversity, not dogs

Alison Drover’s comment is a welcome reminder of what Byron Shire, at our core, is representing – biodiversity. How do...

IP dispute over aquaponics invention

Two organic farmers from Nimbin, Andrew Bodlovich and Hogan Gleeson, invented a sustainable food production system that they hoped would help feed the world. Now they say they risk losing 20 years of work owing to a legal battle with ‘big business interests’ that backed the technology.

Last chance for tickets to Byron Shire Council Meet the Candidates forum

Today is your last chance to get tickets to tonight’s Byron Shire Meet the Candidates forum in the Byron Theatre.

Tweed Council Greens ticket is seeking to build on the current strengths

Dr Nola Firth has taken the helm of The Greens ticket for the Tweed Shire Council elections on 4...

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

Storms and rain for Tuesday and Wednesday in the Northern Rivers

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is predicting widespread thunderstorms and rain for the Northern Rivers.

Byron candidates 2021 Q&A part 2

Buckle in, seats upright, and loosen the belt!  It’s time to see what candidates have to say – in full – about our collective issues...

COVID update – Aquarius, Lismore sewage fragments and the South African variant

The Northern NSW Local Health District says there have been no new cases of COVID-19 reported in the 24 hours to 8pm 28 November, but, they are urging residents in the Lismore area to be alert for COVID-19 symptoms.

Last chance for tickets to Byron Shire Council Meet the Candidates forum

Today is your last chance to get tickets to tonight’s Byron Shire Meet the Candidates forum in the Byron Theatre.