19.9 C
Byron Shire
February 6, 2023

Govt delays action on holiday letting

Latest News

Natural history

While I have not the informed authority to confirm John Bradley’s musings on the birds that seem to be...

Other News

Kura and Sou: two authentic Japanese Byron restaurants

Simon Haslam Kura is an authentic Japanese restaurant serving yakitori, sushi and ramen, located in the heart of Byron Bay....

Lismore trial of recycled crushed glass in concrete

A trial to use recycled crushed glass in concrete as a replacement for sand will be taking place in Lismore at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre.

Indigenous cricketers go head-to-head

Regional teams came together at Ballina’s Fripp Oval for an Indigenous cricket challenge carnival on January 26, last week. The...

Ocean Shores swimmers power to strong results at regional swimming competition

A group of seven athletes from the Ocean Shores Aquatics swim team took part in the annual Country Regional...

Cheeky Cabaret returns!

Following the Cheeky season is some incredible live music, including Ella Hooper: Small Town Temple tour, Libby O’Donovan – cabaret singer extraordinaire, Stella Donnelly: Flood Australian tour, Liz Stringer and William Crighton co-headlining in a powerhouse performance, and the house is thrilled to announce the fabulous Tim Rogers & The Twin Set coming in April.


Warren Kennedy wrote an excellent letter last week (28 January) pointing out the deficiencies of capitalism as it exists...

The desperately-needed 90-day cap on un-hosted holiday letting promised to Byron locals by the State Government has become ensnared in a web of departmental obstructions and delays.

And the government has now refused to extend the amount of time given to the Council and the Planning Department to finalise the Byron-specific cap.

This means that, as of January 31 next year, the Shire will come under the same rules as the rest of the State, under which un-hosted holiday letting can take place for up to 180 days of the year.

This blanket policy will apply in the Shire unless, and until, Byron Council can find a way through the bureaucratic mire. 

Promises, promises

In July 2019, the then-Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, promised that Byron would be excluded from its statewide holiday letting policy, so that a 90-day cap could be introduced here.

Since then, there have been ongoing discussions between Council and departmental officers in relation to finalising the terms of a holiday letting policy specifically for the Byron Shire. 

However, three years on, this process is yet to be completed.

‘The Council’s Short-Term Rental Accomodation (STRA) planning proposal has had a protracted and difficult recent history,’ Byron Council’s Director of Sustainable Environment and Economy, Shannon Burt, told last week’s Council meeting.

‘What Council has asked the Department to do is to respect proper process, the ministerial direction, and the resolutions of Council, and permit a finalisation of our planning proposal.’

Ms Burt explained that the latest delay centred around an economic impact assessment commissioned by the Department in relation to Council’s proposed holiday letting policy for the Shire.

‘Council staff raised concerns with aspects of methodology, the technical assessment, the language, the lack of a social economic impact assessment, and consideration of mitigation strategies that appeared to be lacking in the assessment’, Ms Burt said.

‘These are being reviewed by Urbis [the consultants] and the Department, with a view to finalising it for gateway determination and next steps for Council,’ she said. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Planning has been approached by industry bodies and homeowners wanting the new policy to be finalised in such a way that the statewide 180-day cap would apply in Byron.

‘This would obviously be neat and expeditious’, Ms Burt said. ‘But there’s nothing neat and expeditious about the incursion of un-hosted, investor-led holiday letting… or the opportunistic seasonal holiday letting of second homes now prevalent in the Byron Shire.

Nowhere to live 

‘It’s taken over whole residential neighbourhoods and left key workers with nowhere to live.’

During parliamentary question time last month, Local MP, Tamara Smith, asked the current Planning Minister, Rob Stokes, whether he would defer the application of the statewide policy to Byron until the bureaucratic wrangling had been concluded.

Mr Stokes said that the application of the statewide policy to Byron had already been delayed, and that the Council now had ‘until the end of summer to complete that work. That has provided a bit over three years to do that work,’ Mr Stokes said.

‘I believe that is a good amount of time to provide certainty to the community to finalise the socio-economic work needed to justify the particular solution it is seeking. At some point, I need to draw a line in the sand and say, “Now is the time that you need to come forward with a concrete proposal based with justification through evidence”.’

According to the latest data from the watchdog website, Inside Airbnb, 20 per cent of the dwellings in the Byron Shire are being used for short-term holiday letting.

Meanwhile, thousands of locals are being forced to leave the Shire or live in their cars because of the dire shortage of rental accommodation.

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.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Community advocacy

I am a small business owner of Byron Central Apartments. Tamara Smith MP has recently supported us on two separate occasions advocating effectively with...

Swivel by name, drivel by nature

The lack of authenticity of Byron Councillor, Mark Swivel, does not come as a surprise from this side of the fence. A well-to-do lawyer...

Land values rise

Your cover story on 25 January claims that land valuation rises could herald increases in Council rates. This is potentially misleading. A council’s total...

Go Thistles!

Lismore Thistles Soccer Club has launched the Thistles Acceleration Program, in the process becoming the city’s only player development academy.