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Byron Shire
December 3, 2021

Nats MP defends holiday-letting rules

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North-coast based Nationals MLC Ben Franklin.

While local Greens and ALP politicians have damned the state government’s recent review of holiday letting, North Coast based Nationals MLC Ben Franklin has moved to defend it.

Greens Cr Michael Lyon led the charge in responding to the state government’s response, saying, ‘as anticipated, the State government has failed the community of Byron Shire, adding they had ‘adopted a one-size fits all policy framework’.

Asren Pugh, the Labor candidate for Ballina, echoed those sentiments, saying the new holiday letting laws ‘don’t go far enough to protect communities in tourist hotspots like Byron Bay’.

But Mr Franklin, who is Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, has welcomed the plan as ‘a good first step in providing long-term certainty’.

‘Currently this area is unregulated, so the government’s reforms are a very welcome first step in this process,’ Mr Franklin said.

Code of conduct

A new mandatory code of conduct will be implemented, which Mr Franklin said would ‘address potential impacts like noise levels, disruptive guests and effects on shared neighbourhood amenities’.

He also defended a new dispute resolution process, which would see Fair Trading given powers to ‘police online platforms and letting agents’.

‘Under the “two strikes and you’re out” policy, hosts or guests who commit two serious breaches of the code within two years will be banned for five, and be listed on an exclusion register,’ Mr Franklin said.

‘These are the toughest laws in the country and will make sure local residents are protected while ensuring that hosts who do the right thing are not penalized,’ he said.

180-day limit

The new laws give regional councils to limit short-term holiday letting to a maximum of 180 days.

Mr Franklin described this as ‘a welcome move, providing Councils with more control in determining what is appropriate for their communities’.

‘Allowing councils to limit letting to 180 days shows that the Government understands that a “one size fits all” approach is not appropriate as every Local Government area faces different challenges,’ he said.

But both Ms Smith and Mr Pugh condemned the 180-day limit as failing to give councils like Byron sufficient control over the extent of holiday-letting the shire.

Mr Pugh described it as ‘simply too high for places like Byron Bay’ adding it ‘won’t do anything to stop renters being forced out of town’.

‘This one size fits all approach that has been designed for apartment blocks in Sydney simply won’t work in our coastal towns like Byron Bay,’ he said.

Cr Lyon said, ‘It would have been simple, give councils the ability to regulate and 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.

12-month review

Mr Franklin said, however, there would be room for further changes as the policy will undergo a full review 12 months after it is implemented.

‘Some Councils in our area – particularly the Byron Shire – are unique due to the extraordinarily high number of visitors they receive. This has a substantial impact on our local roads, infrastructure and housing availability,’ Mr Franklin said.

‘Therefore, over the next 12 months I will be facilitating formal discussions with Byron and Ballina Councils, small operators and the community to gain feedback on the impact of the new laws,’ he said.

‘I will then take the results of that feedback back to Macquarie Street and advocate within government for potential local changes when the policy is reviewed,’ he said.

‘I look forward to speaking to all those interested to consider what further changes may be necessary to address our unique local concerns,’ Mr Franklin said.

 


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4 COMMENTS

  1. Ben Franklin needs to examine the 3 previous Codes of Conduct developed starting in May 2012. None of them were successful because they did not provide adequate protection of neighbours. They were biased to protect the interests of holiday let owners and managers. I have no doubt that the new one will be exactly the same.

    Ben Franklin needs to live beside one of the many out of control holiday lets. Then he will understand that mixing residential with short term rental accommodation is fundamentally incompatible.

  2. Just trotting out the briefing notes all Coalition MPs would have been given on this latest sellout. Maybe the local guest houses and other operators, sold out by this move – who met with Tamara Smith recently – should ask Mt Franklin about his support for their industry.

  3. Is Ben Franklin defending the business interests of his parliamentary colleagues?

    Interesting that the wife of his Parliamentary leader Deputy Premier John Barilo holiday lets a multi million dollar home on the internet. The Honourable Deputy Premier due to media exposure, was forced to declare this in his pecuniary interests. Don’t forget the 5 National parliamentarians, 3 still serving, who were served NSW Land and Environment Court orders in 2015, to stop holiday letting their Bridge Street, Sydney, strata residential which they holiday let when they weren’t in parliament. There are other National/Liberal MP’s who holiday let.

    Can’t forget the Labor Party with a currently serving Opposition Minister holiday letting her Gloucester property.

    All these holiday lets are illegal in their respective LGA.

    A major conflict of interest and these MP”s will be voting on legislation today that will personally benefit them financially.

  4. We have commercial rates on Farmland…and we have a DA approved B&B….even though in the NSW LEP of 1987 when we got our licence 2 rooms were permitted as B&B agri tourism with all the usual compliances.
    Roll forward to 12 months ago when our $1135 per year rates skyrocketed to $5135 (because our primary production farming appeared to be non existent)
    As we have embarked on an organic certification process 2 years ago (part of a 4 year process) we are not using chemicals (roundup and pesticides) and rely on our income from B&B for attain this certificate.

    As of today we are only going to pay our farmland proportion of the rates.

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