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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Short Term Rental Accommodation outrage

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As I finalise another submission on another state government push for higher density development (gifting to developers) to address their failure to deliver on social and affordable housing, they do a backflip on Byron’s short term rental accommodation (STRA). 

Our council and MP Tamara Smith are supporting our community but not the government. This issue has gouged our community for 20 years. STRA of entire homes was previously unlawful because the LEP defined tourism as prohibited in a residential zone. Councils won court cases, then the ALP state government stepped in and advised it was ‘looking into it’ after pressure from commercial interests. 

The coalition made it easier for STRA while at the same time imposing increased housing densities. Our community has suffered, locals have left as neighbourhoods are turned into tourism areas. How many tourists is Byron Shire meant to accommodate? 

Property prices have escalated as houses become a commercial investment, not a home. Government raises the economic impact defence but it’s clear they don’t understand the value of community. So who’s there for disasters? Not government; it’s community. The state doesn’t value community – who live, work, spend, volunteer, and contribute to our social capital. Instead they cave in to pressure from a commercial sector. 

Surprised – NOT, outraged – ABSOLUTELY.

Jan Barham, Broken Head

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  1. This is a complex issue that is years in the making due to a lack of forward planning and poor policy by Federal, State and Local governments.

    Higher density, sustainably built housing has to be part of the solution. Attacking property owners (ratepayers) who have bought property in good faith for use as residencies or holiday homes or have owned these places for generations, is a highly political move by some to socialise all housing and erode property rights. It is far too simplistic and short sighted. We live in a free market economy and a democratic society. People are allowed to buy houses and with the price they pay for ownership comes rights to use them. Retrospectively removing those rights should come with an offer of financial compensation. For years Governments have outsourced their responsibilities to use our taxes provide adequate social housing, education and health care and infrastructure to the private sector. This has to stop. Demand more of your Governments. Demand that they invest in the housing that is so desperately needed and stop bullying your neighbours.

    • Ownership of a property does not confer unfettered rights as to its use and nor should it. Nor would most people tolerate the fall out from a totally laissez faire free market situation. There are always conflicting needs and rights to be managed.

      STRA is increasingly causing huge problems across the globe, particularly in popular tourist destinations. Many cities are taking sensible measures. One day our state governments will also catch on. In the meantime the community and many parts of the local economy will be decimated.

    • Alison, you say ” Retrospectively removing those rights should come with an offer of financial compensation” This is the same fake news that ASTRA Byron is spreading. John Gudgeon of HLO Byron, now defunct, used to say the same thing. “We will sue foe loss of income” was his mantra. STRA in Byron Shire, unless a DA had been granted, was illegal until 31 January 2022.

  2. Residents that have their streets and neighbourhoods into tourist precincts shoukd more rightly compensated by the government and those that profit from the decimation of communities.


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