From its Ireland headquarters, Airbnb has launched a campaign to stop NSW councils from taking control of short-term holiday-let policy, as advocated by Labor and the Greens.
Ballina Labor candidate Asren Pugh has slammed the Airbnb campaign, saying his party’s plan would bring short-term holiday letting in Byron Shire under control.
Mr Pugh added that ‘if we are elected next year we will govern in the interests of every person in NSW, not a $40 billion multinational corporation’.
Shadow minister for better regulation, Yasmin Catley, recently met with local businesses in Byron Bay to confirm Labor’s policy on short term holiday letting. This policy includes:
- Local councils being best placed to determine the cap on the number of nights a property can be let short term
- A register of short term holiday let properties so we can get rid of the destructive party houses
- The freedom for those who live in their house to rent out a spare room or the whole house
Over the weekend Airbnb launched a campaign that included emailing their property hosts across NSW. The campaign specifically attacks Labor support for a registration system and Labor’s position that councils are best placed to determine annual caps.
The email from Air BnB is signed off ‘Sent with love from Airbnb Ireland’.
‘I have advocated strongly for our community and we now have a policy that allows flexibility for local councils to deal with short term holiday letting properly. I will not be bullied by a massive corporation sending emails from Ireland.’ Mr Pugh said.
‘I am asking for the community’s support to push back against this campaign by Airbnb.’
‘I have already been contacted by a number of people who received this email from Airbnb. But rather than being critical, they were getting in touch to say they support Labor’s position and that they support both a registration system and caps.’
‘We want locals who live in their homes to be able to earn a few extra dollars by letting heir spare room or to go on holiday over Christmas.
‘What we don’t want is absent investors taking properties out of the rental market so they are no longer available for local families.
‘These properties also have an unfair advantage over local accommodation businesses that are doing the right thing including disability access, fire safety and paying commercial rates,’ Mr Pugh said.
A plague on both their houses
Greens Ballina MP Tamara Smith, who Mr Pugh is running against, told Echonetdaily ‘both the LNP and Labor have failed our community on this issue’.
‘I asked the LNP Minister on the floor of parliament to make an exception for Byron Shire and he treated it as a joke. I introduced legislation to make an exception for Byron Shire.
‘Labor did not support Greens amendments to the new law that would have allowed local councils to regulate holiday letting in a way that works for each community.
‘It is a bit rich to now have the local Labor candidate saying councils should have a say when his colleagues voted against that exact amendment in parliament!’ she said.
Greens ‘said it first’
Meanwhile Byron deputy mayor Michael Lyon has said it was ‘fantastic to see that Labor has adopted the Greens policy position on holiday letting’.
‘Residential housing is meant for locals and workers, not for mega profits of corporations and absentee investors.
‘As the Greens have been saying for some time now, the local council must be able to regulate the number of days a property can be on Airbnb and prevent the non-resident landlords from using online platforms to short-term let altogether.
‘We will ensure if Labor wins power we hold them to these promises,’ Mr Lyon said.