Around 30 approved accommodation operators met last Thursday to discuss their next move regarding a new law that is expected to pass NSW parliament in early August.
The Fair Trading Amendment (Short-term rental accommodation) Bill 2018 aims to regulate holiday letting but has been met with anger from accommodation operators who say they have done the right thing by seeking development and other Council approvals.
Also present at the meeting were Greens member for Ballina Tamara Smith and councillors Cate Coorey (independent) and Michael Lyon (Greens).
Local Nationals MLC Ben Franklin could not attend the meeting but told The Echo, ‘I am very conscious of Byron’s special and unique status and the potential impact of laws in this space.’
He said, ‘That’s why I will be consulting broadly over the next 12 months on the impacts of the legislation and taking a Byron-specific set of recommendations back to government to be considered in their 12-month review.
‘I look forward to working closely with all stakeholders over that time to ensure it is fully reflective of our community’s needs.’
Greens councillor Michael Lyon told The Echo, ‘Legitimate accommodation operators are rightly annoyed by the recent state government response to short term holiday letting (STHL) because they are not competing on a level playing field, owing to DA fees and business rates they have to pay. Online platform hosts do not have these requirements, or a requirement for insurance, adherence to building codes or fire safety provisions.
‘Only by allowing local councils complete control over what happens with STHL locally can we seek to address this inequality and come to a fair solution not only on this, but on the pressing issue of depletion of the housing supply in a high-tourist town.’
Ms Smith says the legislation aims to ‘rob local councils of any controls over short term letting by permitting it 365 days per year without regulation apart from a code of conduct.’
‘Whole towns on the north coast could very quickly transform into transient holidaymaker destinations with very few permanent locals.
‘There would be nothing to stop the whole of West Byron, if it gets developed as a residential site, from being bought by investors for holiday letting.’
To get involved, contact spokesperson Victoria McEwen on 6684 7047 or by email [email protected]
Meanwhile, councillors will consider a staff report at this Thursday’s meeting regarding the recent state government short term holiday let policy announcement.
But it’s light on detail – staff say Council is waiting to hear back from Liberal planning minister Anthony Roberts after an urgent meeting was requested.
A recent audit of consent conditions for secondary dwellings and the status of short term holiday let enforcement action commenced/current is also included in the report.