NSW Labor has backed calls by local communities like Byron Shire to have a greater say in determining the number of days that properties can be let out for short term holiday letting (STHL).
Yasmin Catley, shadow minister for innovation and better regulation, met with Ballina ALP candidate Asren Pugh and approved accommodation operators at Victoria’s at Ewingsdale this morning to make the announcement.
The Berejiklian government has released a draft amendment to the Exempt and Complying Development SEPP that would allow STHL without development approval all year round, with councils outside Sydney only able to reduce the threshold to 180 days per year.
The proposed 180-day cap would mean a property could be let for all school holidays, public holidays and every weekend.
Labor said there needed to be ‘greater balance and protections for the local community which is being negatively impacted by rampant holiday letting’.
Councils were ‘well positioned to set appropriate caps to reflect local circumstances’, they said, adding it was ‘sensible to allow local councils to make local laws to reflect local conditions’.
Labor pointed to the proliferation of short term holiday letting in areas like Byron Bay, and said it was ‘only fair that Council was able to have a stronger voice in regulating such activities’.
The government has so far failed to release a draft Code of Conduct for short term holiday lettings, as well as a mandatory registration scheme.
Free for all
Ms Catley said that with the expansion of STHL ‘we need to get the balance right in terms of competing rights and responsibilities’.
‘Labor backs the right of local councils to make locally informed decisions… on the relevant number of days a property can be let.
‘My fear is that the government’s proposal may in fact lead to a free for all with local residents bearing the brunt of the impact.’
Mr Pugh said that ‘only a Labor Government will be able to change these laws to allow local residents a bigger say in how holiday lettings occur in their communities’.
‘A lack of balance in the laws is placing pressure on the availability of housing in the region, while the lack of a level playing field is threatening the viability of approved accommodation businesses that employ local people.
‘We are seeing our communities bear the brunt of the explosion of short term holiday letting – Labor will ensure that we have the right to make local laws to control it and get the balance right,’ he said.