16 C
Byron Shire
October 5, 2022

Battle over regions tourism future heats up

Latest News

Surf films make a splash at Byron Bay Film Festival

Surfing is a central part of Byron Bay’s identity and this year’s surf films are certain to bring the whole community together in a celebration of athleticism, wild seas and sheer joy in our exquisite environment.

Other News

Chemicals left by first stars in the universe may have been detected by the Gemini North telescope

The chemical remains of the earliest stars in the universe may have been discovered by astronomers.

Don’t forget your life jacket

A statewide waterway compliance blitz has found a that a large number of boaters are failing to carry and wear a lifejacket as requuried.

Lambruk Pantry

Simon Haslam Lambruk Pantry is a family-owned local gourmet providore based in the heart of the Byron Shire. If you’re...

$8.5m allocated for upgrade of Goonellabah to Wollongbar Road

Funding to investigate and upgrade the Bruxner Highway between Goonellabah and Wollongbar has been allocated by the Federal and NSW State governments.

The Tweed Artisan Food Festival is almost here

The sixth Tweed Artisan Food Festival will be held at the end of the month – the festival runs for 10 days with 20 curated events showcasing the people, the place and the produce of the Tweed.

Ballina council taking suggestions for Lennox Head plan

Anyone with ideas for improving or protecting particular parts of Lennox and Skennars Heads has until 28 October to let the Ballina Shire Council know.

The battle over the future of the regions tourism industry is heating up as Byron Shire Councils gets closer to their submission to the state government on short term holiday lets.

The submission is partly based on the council’s Sustainable Visitation Strategy (SVS) which is currently on public exhibition with submissions from the public closing this Friday, 11 December.

The planning proposal to the state government marks out areas in which short term rentals would only be allowed to operate for 90 days per year, instead of the current 365.

Emails obtained by The Echo show organised opposition from short term rental company ‘A Perfect Stay’. The email which was authored by a former council staffer, Sarah Workman, calls on ‘valued creditors’ of the business to sign a letter to the state government calling for the continuation of 365-days short term rentals across the entire area. This is in contrast to the current proposal of having 90-day rental limits across significant parts of the shire.

Ms Workman offers to submit the attached proforma letters signed by customers on their behalf to both the state government on short term holiday letting and to the council in response to the SVS.

She writes, ‘Collectively, we aim to have an impact and maintain 365 days of short-term rental accommodation in Byron Shire. This will ensure all our businesses and our staff continue to thrive’.

This sort of organised lobbying is not uncommon but re-emphasises the importance of community engagement to counter private interests. Locals worried about the proliferation of short- term rentals in the area should seek to make their voices heard through the channel available to them through the council. 

The call for regulation  

A study by Southern Cross University into the effect of Airbnb on the Byron Shire found that most respondents (including Airbnb hosts) agreed that the industry needed better regulation.

Undoubtedly, the positive impacts on job prospects, tourism numbers and job opportunities were substantial. However, the study found that many of these positive impacts were offset by an oversupply of short-term rentals that were contributing to the regions already severe housing and congestion issues.

Doug Luke, Co-Coordinator of Victims of Holiday Letting, believes that by regulating certain areas a balance can be struck between locals and the tourism industry.

‘All that we are asking for is to ensure there is a strong code of conduct like what already exists for hotels so that if there are complaints, the manager or the owner actually have to turn up and solve it.’

‘We have no objection to people letting a room in their house and making some extra cash, but we believe ideally there should always be a manager or owner on premises.’

Mr Luke believes that people looking to create year-round accommodation should have to register and pay fees just as other accommodations such as motels, hotels and hostels already do.

It is estimated that the short-term rental market generates over $1 billion in revenue annually and employs tens of thousands of people directly and indirectly through cleaning and other services. However, increasing issues around housing supply and sustainability have placed them under the legislative spotlight in recent years as state governments around the country from Western Australia to NSW scramble to regulate the industry.

Council is still accepting submissions and feedback that will go towards the final proposal to the state government. To have your say visit: https://www.yoursaybyronshire.com.au/svs

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. About time!
    1. Air B&B destroys communities.
    2. Byron Shire is long overdue for a tourism management plan that removes non local traffic from the equation.
    3. West Byron is the beginning of a new era where we risk becoming satellite suburbs of Brisbane.
    4. NSW Govt can’t just keep giving open slather to development.
    5. Everybody please vote at next Council election with these issues in mind.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Just us, with the wild goat

Simon Haslam I don’t know if you can recall one of those luminous moments in your life when it just seemed to be you, perhaps...

Lambruk Pantry

Simon Haslam Lambruk Pantry is a family-owned local gourmet providore based in the heart of the Byron Shire. If you’re looking for something classy, that’s...

Oliver’s happy hens

‘If you can look after fifty chickens’, Oliver tells me, ‘you might as well look after 500.’ In between a steady stream of customers...

Alstonville takes out top tier of the Oceania Cup

The Oceania Cup delivered exciting and close football for the 19 teams that competed across last weekend at the Alstonville FC’s Crawford Park fields. The...