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Byron Shire
December 4, 2022

Businesses launch campaign against holiday let policy

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Businesses who say they would be adversely impacted by Council’s proposal to cap holiday letting to 90 days have gone on the offensive by launching a PR campaign and the website www.byrondeservesbetter.com.

The website, which does not say who the spokesperson is, or who is funding it, claims the figures that underpin Council’s assumptions are wrong. 

The website says it is ‘Authorised by the Australian Short Term Rental Association [ASTRA]’, which is based in Pacific Palms in NSW, just south of Forster. 

According to the communications consultant who placed The Echo ad on page 9, funding of the group’s promotion comprise five local business people who provide quotes on the website. 

‘There are many more members who are contributing,’ the representative said, including Colin Hussey (Perfect Stay) and former Council employee, Sarah Workman.

The business owners named on www.byrondeservesbetter.com are Ben Kirkwood, Beach Byron Bay, Grant Moffitt, Away at Byron Bay, Nick [No last name supplied], Pool Professionals, Che Devlin, Byron Bay Weddings & Fig Tree Restaurant and Norm Black, TripADeal.

They say ‘According to Tourism Research Australia, when you remove families who stay in holiday homes in Byron Shire, as will happen if the 90 day cap is imposed, Council will jeopardise 1,448 local jobs and remove $267 million from the local economy.

‘Think of all the small businesses impacted – restaurants, cafes, builders, retailers, gardeners, electricians, cleaners, handymen, garbage removal, pool maintenance, the list goes on!’

The Byron Chamber of Commerce have also raised similar concerns, citing the same Tourism Research Australia figures. 

Despite the clear and well-documented pressure on housing for essential workers and the community over decades, which is largely a result of self-regulated holiday letting, no alternative solution is offered by the group. 

Mayor, Michael Lyon, replied to the the claims made by byrondeservesbetter and said, ‘We are not promoting incorrect figures. We have included reports in the appendix going back three to four years, and since those reports were commissioned, there have of course been changes owing to covid, flood etc. 

‘We are also aware that some hosts are registering as hosted when in fact they are unhosted’.

‘What needs to be understood clearly, is that this policy will make short-term letting more unattractive as an investment, relative to long-term letting. 

Policy intended to work this way

‘That is why the industry is upset… because the policy will work as it is intended to, which is to shift the use of properties from short-term rentals to long-term rentals’.

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  1. Technically, at the moment there is 0 days allowance for air bnb unless DA approved as a tourist facility eg. [email protected] , hotel etc.

    All the existing air BnB rentals are operating in grey zone where there is currently no regulation, and Council has simply not enforced because of pending exempt holiday letting rules.

    therefore, we are going from 0 days to 90 days, so isn’t that better for businesses? their argument is hinged on the current situation of mass illegal air bnb simply not enforced.

    We need to regulate holiday letting through a simpler DA pathway for 365 letting where assessment of suitability can occur for each proposal, otherwise 90 days is good generally. ‘

    We need to focus on locals and workers rather than let these property owners who live elsewhere rent out their premises for profit without any input or consideration of the locals.

    It seems that it is these rich listers who operate a accommodation business without a DA approval want to continue to do this without any conditions attached, and they are pushing this in the name of ‘local businesses’.

    Most businesses I work with eg cafes, shops need staff and would see no problem with capping the holiday letting to 90 days. There is still ample accommodation options that is DA approved , as if there would be a reduction in numbers of tourists to justify the reasons they are stating, absolute nonsense.

    • Mick, NSW Parliament passed legislation to legalise STRA in 2018. On 31 January 2022 all Byron Shire holiday lets had to be registered with the Dept of Planning. Unhosted STRA at the present time have a 180 day cap whilst hosted can operate for 365 days a year. No grey area if they have complied with the legislation. The negative impact on Byron Shire is another thing.

  2. Mess with the market and you will get unintended consequences. I wonder how many businesses rely on the holiday goers. I wonder how many locals rely on those business that are subsidised for them by the holiday goers. I wonder what else the wealth of the holiday goers will disappear with them.

    The Byron Deserves Better website states that they want the current Shire wide 180 day cap on STRA. They don’t have a choice as it has been legislated by the State Government. The advertisement on page 9 was really placed by the Byron branch of the Australian Short Term Rental Association with Colin Hussey as the convenor. Mr Hussey’s business, A Perfect Stay, manages 152 holiday lets in Byron Shire.
    Will Mr Hussey explain why some of his A Perfect Stay holiday lets are currently breaking the regulations by exceeding the 180 day cap?

  4. think of all the small businesses impacted??? ….
    Geez it feels like a broken record, but the rental market in Byron (and Ballina, Lennox, Bruns etc etc etc ) is becoming so unaffordable that you can’t get people to work in your….. restaurants, cafes, building, retail, gardens, electricians, cleaners, handymen, garbage removal, pool maintenance…. and Professional offices, Doctors surgeries, Local government…
    Byron(Ballina/Lennox/Bruns/Mullum) deserves better than price gouging multi-property owning BMW driving smarmy North Shore w*nkers sucking the soul out of the communities. We need to understand the limits to our living system!

    • If they can’t get workers, they will have to pay higher wages or provide accommodation. If you can’t afford to live where you are, move. Of course most of what you are eluding to has to do with the central banking system distorting markets, but that’s a bunch of dry study few people are willing to do rather than unknowing bitch about its consequences.

  5. InsideAirbnb finds 2,815 homes in the Byron Shire operating as Airbnb rentals (14/09/22). Of these, only 1,957 have been licensed. AirDNA finds 2,129 Active (short-term holiday) Rentals. ‘Byrondeservesbetter’ says there are 1,136 holiday homes only registered on the NSW STR register and that “Byron Mayor and Councillors are misleading (us)”.
    Australia is a signatory to the UNHCR’s charter on Human Rights; the #Right2Housing forms part of our obligations. ‘Residential housing’ if for housing ‘Residents’; that is clear to all.
    The NSW Land and Environment Court judges mixing STRs with permanent residents “fundamentally incompatible”. It also judges STRs “offend and undermine the planning regime of (a Local Government Area) and ultimately of the State”.

    • You don’t have a right to be given a house, anymore than you have the right to being given food or having someone else pay your bills. You are dealing with market distortions due to government intervention. Eliminate those and you would be amazed the results you would get.

  6. AS far as PR campaigns go , this one is pathetic.

    A delusional industry attempting to alter wide spread opinions against them .

    How about only HOSTED B&B accommodation ?

    That should fix them.

    • Or we could just let people do what they want with their private property. You could always buy it of them if you have a better use for it.


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