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May 12, 2021

NSW Labor outlines its holiday-letting position

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With a Labor win a real possibility at the NSW election in March next year, what holiday-letting policy can residents expect from that party?

NSW Labor says it will give local communities like Byron Shire a ‘greater say in determining the number of days that properties can be let out for short-term holiday letting (STHL).’ Yet like their LiberalNational counterparts, further details around a holiday letting policy remain unclear.

NSW Labor shadow minister for innovation and better regulation Yasmin Catley met with Ballina ALP candidate Asren Pugh and approved accommodation operators at Victoria’s at Ewingsdale last week 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 government has so far failed to release a draft code of conduct for short-term holiday lettings, as well as a mandatory registration scheme. Ms Catley said, ‘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’.

Disappointed Greens Byron deputy mayor Cr Michael Lyon and federal Greens candidate said, ‘As someone who is hopeful that Labor and the Greens secure enough seats to win power in NSW at the next state election, I was disappointed to see the announcement on short-term holiday letting from Labor, which seeks only to restrict the number of days that STHL can take place annually. Unless you can make that number 30, or zero even, it will not work.

‘The only thing that will work, in terms of returning houses to the long-term rental stock, which is so desperately needed, is to prevent investors not normally resident in a dwelling from short-term letting it.

‘Decades of planning around our housing needs has been undermined by these tourism businesses in residential zones that have exploded owing to Airbnb and the like.’

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