Getaboutable: A great boost for accessible tourism

Jan Barham, NSW Greens spokesperson for Disability and Tourism has applauded Getaboutable, a website developed in Australia that provides information about accessible tourism for people with a disability.

Getaboutable lists accommodation, transport and entertainment options that are accessible for people with mobility impairments, vision impairments or hearing loss.

“This is a fantastic example of a tool that promotes accessible tourism and I encourage businesses that are accessible to list their information on the site so that it can grow”, said Ms Barham.

“If tourism destinations aren’t accessible or haven’t looked at this sector, then now is the time to act. This is particularly important for regional areas, where accessibility can give them that all important point of difference.”

Ms Barham said that the tourism industry must recognise that accessible tourism is not only good for the community; it’s also good for business.

“Almost one if five people in Australia have a disability. The National Disability Insurance Scheme will see a lot more people with disability securing their independence and the ability to travel. The tourism industry must get on board with accessible tourism or risk losing a substantial customer base.”

“Getaboutable gives businesses an excellent opportunity to reach out to people with a disability both in Australia and internationally, while providing much needed information about accessibility. I look forward to its success and congratulate the instigator, Yasmine Gray from Canberra for this innovation.”

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

 

  • Getaboutable: http://getaboutable.com/
  • Research suggests that accessible tourism contributes $4.8 billion to the Australian economy, but this could be $8.7 billion if latent demand was met.[1]
  • In NSW, 30% of the population is aged 65 and over or has a disability.[2]

[1] Darcy, S. (2010) ‘Economic Contribution of Accessible Tourism’ Accessible Tourism Research http://accessibletourismresearch.blogspot.com.au/2010/01/economic-contribution-of-accessible.html

[2] ABS (2013) Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of findings, 2012 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4430.02012?OpenDocument

Holiday letting comes under NSW Parliament scrutiny

The Greens’ Tourism and North Coast spokesperson, Jan Barham MLC, has welcomed a NSW Parliamentary inquiry into holiday letting and is encouraging local residents to make submissions.

“It’s an important move that the State Parliament will be conducting an inquiry into the use of properties for short term tourism use, including the short term holiday letting of residential premises,” Ms Barham said.

“The contentious issue of holiday letting has had many impacts on North Coast communities, and despite the lack of planning approval it has continued to flourish. Without approval and regulation, the short term holiday letting of residential premises doesn’t pay its way but adds to the impacts and costs to council, as well as depriving approved tourism accommodation providers of business.

“Other issues that may come to light through this inquiry into holiday letting are the possibilities for tax evasion, and that property owners may be claiming negative gearing and a capital gains tax discount while effectively running commercial businesses,” said Ms Barham.

“The inquiry will also examine the situation with online accommodation platforms such as Airbnb, and regulatory issues around the ‘sharing economy’ model of accommodation for travellers. While these platforms offer some great benefits for home-owners to be able to earn income when their property is under-occupied and for travellers to experience a local connection to the community they’re visiting, it has become clear that the use has extended to the permanent rental of whole premises for tourism in some areas. This aspect of online accommodation services may lead to impacts for neighbours as well as the regulated tourism industry providers. The lack of approval creates an uneven playing field within the industry and also a lack of compliance with industry standards relating to safety, insurance and other regulatory issues.

Ms Barham noted that in Byron and Tweed Shires it is estimated that there are nearly 2000 residential properties being used for short term tourism, which equates to up to 5000 residents who aren’t able to be housed in the local area.

“For more than a decade the unregulated use of residential properties has caused negative impacts in Byron Shire for residents, including noise and antisocial behaviour. It has also had a major effect on the availability and affordability of housing. It makes a mockery of strategic planning that defines residential and commercial zones and the impacts on infrastructure. The use of holiday let brings additional visitors to the shire, and particularly in Byron Bay it adds to the traffic issues. Residents have suffered for too long, missing out on neighbours and a sense of community. For those seeking rental properties in the area, it has reduced the available stock, contributing to this being one of the most unavailable and unaffordable regional areas in NSW. Importantly for those who stay in these properties, there could also be serious issues if there was an accident or injury as insurance doesn’t cover unapproved uses,” Ms Barham said.

“In the Tweed Shire, the council staff report identified that the use of 900 residential dwellings for short term premises is a prohibited use in residential zones, but the council resolved to allow the use. The NSW Law Society and court decisions have also defined that the unregulated use of dwellings is a prohibited use.”

The Legislative Assembly inquiry into the adequacy of the regulation of short-term holiday letting in NSW will receive submissions until the 9th November.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

BACKGROUND:

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING

Terms of reference for an inquiry into the adequacy of the regulation of short-term holiday letting in NSW

That the Committee inquire into and report on the adequacy of the regulation of short-term holiday letting in NSW, with particular reference to:
a) The current situation in NSW and comparison with other jurisdictions
b) The differences between traditional accommodation providers and online platforms
c) The growth of short-term and online letting, and the changing character of the market
d) The economic impacts of short-term letting on local and the state economies
e) Regulatory issues posed by short-term letting including customer safety, land use
planning and neighbourhood amenity, and licensing and taxation
f) Any other related matters.

Greens call for review of whether tax breaks are delivering housing supply

The Greens’ spokesperson on Housing, Tourism and the North Coast, Jan Barham MLC, has called for a review of tax concessions for investment properties and whether they are in fact improving the availability of rental housing stock.

“As a North Coast resident I am concerned at the evidence of 900 homes in both the Byron and Tweed local government areas being used for tourism purposes,” said Ms Barham.

“It is possible that many of these properties are being claimed as investment properties and despite the use being unapproved at this time, there hasn’t been an examination of whether the Federal Government’s negative gearing and capital gains tax provisions are supporting a loss of housing stock and the erosion of community.”

For many years the Byron Shire community has raised concerns about the impact of holiday letting on the availability and affordability of housing in the shire. Recently the Tweed council staff presented a report to alert council to the use of dwellings in that shire for tourism rather than the approved permanent residential use.

“The Land and Environment Court decision in 2013 about a case in Gosford made it very clear that the use for tourism accommodation of approved dwellings in residential areas was prohibited. Now councils have to reconcile this decision with what is happening in each council area.

“The Federal Government’s tax discussion paper, which was released earlier this week, shows that the total tax deductions claimed for investment properties have grown and are now larger than the total rental income earned by Australian property owners.

“If this substantial tax break is being used on the North Coast for commercial gain by turning residential properties into tourist accommodation, it is actually working against the desired outcome of providing more rental housing stock.

“Some form of review and regulation is needed to ensure that generous bonus to property investors delivers some form of social benefit,” Ms Barham concluded.

For further comment, contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Holiday letting eroding community

The Greens NSW Tourism spokesperson and Byron Shire resident, Jan Barham MLC, has warned that Byron Shire Council’s Draft Short Term Holiday Accommodation Strategy is a recipe for the erosion of community in Byron Shire.

“The changes to the planning process proposed by Byron Shire Council would allow holiday letting in all residential areas and diminish the already limited stock of available housing and change the character of Byron Shire,” said Ms Barham.

“The proposal makes a mockery of strategic planning and has had no Social Impact Assessment, which would be required for rezoning residential land for tourism. The council is already under pressure to deliver more residential housing and that was evident in the State Government’s recent approval of the West Byron development.

“The problem with the unapproved use of dwellings for tourism purposes has been an issue in Byron Shire for over a decade and has caused great concern in the community. Currently there are estimates of at least 900 houses approved as residential dwellings being used for tourism purposes. This unapproved use means that permanent residents are deprived access to housing and equates to about 2500 people unable to be housed.”

Ms Barham noted that the legal situation prohibiting holiday letting was clear and that the NSW Government needed to support councils to act in enforcing the law as it stands.

“A recent Land and Environment Court judgment relating to holiday letting in the Gosford area makes clear that the use of dwellings for short term tourism purposes in residential zoned areas is prohibited. Byron Shire Council has tried to deal with the problems with the unapproved use but has been thwarted by the state government in the regulation of the use or taking legal action.

“In the past when Byron council sought to take action it was requested to desist by the State Government with an assurance that they were addressing the issue. What eventuated was Government support for industry regulation. It is outrageous for the same Government that imposes unwanted development on communities to fail to support councils’ efforts to ensure existing housing is available for residential use.

“While tourism is an important economic benefit to the shire, it should not come at the erosion of the community that has protected and created this iconic destination. Council should be acting on the current legal situation rather than considering an approach that would contribute to the lack of affordability and availability of properties and change the character of the community,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Motions put on record in the NSW Legislative Council by Jan Barham

Unapproved Tourism Use of Residential Dwellings, Notice given 19 November 2014

1. That this House notes that:

(a) legislation and court decisions define the distinction between the use of residential dwellings for the purpose of permanent occupation and short term tourism uses such as holiday let and serviced apartments, and

(b) court decisions have determined that the use of approved dwellings or dwelling houses for the purpose of tourism use is an unlawful purpose and contrary to the zone objectives and therefore prohibited.

2. That this House notes that many court cases have addressed the use of residential-zoned buildings and land for uses other than residential dwellings, including the following:

(a) in the judgement of Reynolds JA in South Sydney Council v James (1979) 35 LGRA 432 the critical element of reasoning was that some level of permanence is required in that a dwelling requires “at the very least, a significant degree of permanence or habitation or occupation”,

(b) in the Land and Environment Court case of the Sydney Council and the Waldorf Apartments in March 2008, Paine J’s judgment focussed on the question of whether the use of the rooms “is for the purpose of ‘residential accommodation’ or for other purpose, namely short term accommodation” and ruled that consent to use the building for serviced apartments had not been given,

(c) in the Waldorf Apartments case, Paine J noted the similarities with the case in North Sydney regarding the use of Blues Point Towers where, in the Court of Appeal, Mahoney JA (with the agreement of Handley JA and Priestly JA) held that the use of flats as serviced apartments was unauthorised on the grounds that they did not have “the necessary degree of permanence”,

(d) in the 2005 case relating to the York Apartments in York St Sydney, it was noted that the term ‘serviced apartments’ “was first introduced into the City of Sydney Local Environment Plan in 1996 and described inter alia as ‘used to provide short term accommodation’”, and that Lord J, ruling in the appeal to change usage of the York building to incorporate serviced apartments, found against the appeal on the grounds that “the description of a flat as a ‘dwelling’ or ‘domicile’ carried with it the notion of a degree of permanency of habitation or occupancy” and that the owner must comply with the original consent for use as a ‘residential flat building’,

(e) in the more recent case in the Land and Environment Court, Paine J ruled that a unit in Sutherland Shire had a 1960 development consent for use only as a ‘residential flat building’, and quoted the above Mahoney J Court of Appeal decision, noting that a dwelling or residence carries with it the notion of permanency and ruled that the unit in question was, on the balance of probabilities, being used for holiday letting, as indicated by its advertisement for such in the NRMA Open Road magazine,

(f) in a Byron Shire case in the Land and Environment Court involving the appeal against Council’s refusal to permit a proposed development to be re-categorised as ‘holiday cabins’, Lloyd J considered that by definition, a holiday cabin is a tourist facility and therefore is prohibited in that particular zone of the Council’s LEP, and

(g) in the Land and Environment Court in April/May 2013, hearing a matter involving Gosford City Council brought by the neighbours of a six bedroom holiday let with a history of late night parties, loud music and other disturbances, Pepper J found that holiday letting of this property was prohibited on the grounds that the use was not sufficiently “permanent to comprise a ‘dwelling house’ for the purposes of the relevant zoning” and further Pepper J noted that, unlike other Councils like Byron Shire, this Council had not amended its LEP to resolve any ambiguity regarding holiday letting.

3. That ths House notes that there is considerable confusion in the community regarding the rights of property owners to use buildings and land for short-term letting or tourism purposes when the original consent has been for residential use, and in particular that in the Gosford judgment Pepper J stated that, “Whether a building is a dwelling house is a question of fact and degree,” and further that Councils expecting the courts to rule on these matters “amounts to an effective abrogation by the council of its fundamental duties and responsibilities.”

4. That this House notes that while in April 2012 the then Minister for Planning and Infrastructure the Hon. Brad Hazzard MP announced a Code of Conduct for Holiday Letting, this amounted to the industry essentially regulating the industry and little recourse for either the councils or the residents who may be suffering the negative effects of holiday letting in their towns or suburbs. 
5. That this House notes that:

(a) due to the legal interpretations of the permissible use of a dwelling house and the determinations that short term letting is a prohibited use, there are concerns regarding liability and insurance protection, and

(b) the use of dwellings for an unapproved use such as short term letting and tourism purposes results in a lack of safeguards for the occupants.

6. That this House notes that the current Standard Instrument LEP definition of a residential accommodation:

(a) means a building or place used predominantly as a place of residence, and includes any of the following:
(i) attached dwellings,
(ii) boarding houses,
(iii) dual occupancies,
(iv) dwelling houses,
(v) group homes,
(vi) hostels,
(vii) multi dwelling housing,
(viii) residential flat buildings,
(ix) rural workers’ dwellings,
(x) secondary dwellings,
(xi) semi-detached dwellings,
(xii) seniors housing,
(xiii) shop top housing, but

(b) does not include tourist and visitor accommodation or caravan parks, and therefore identifies that tourism use of a dwelling is a prohibited use.

7. That this House notes that the use of approved dwellings for short term letting and tourism purposes reduces the available permanent housing stock in a locality and can result in a housing supply shortage, and therefore places availability and affordability stresses on a locality and is contrary to strategic planning objectives to define the potential housing stock and meet permanent population targets.

8. That this House calls on the Government to clarify the legal and planning requirements relating to the use of dwellings for short term letting and tourism purposes and note the impacts and consequences.

Legal Issues Relating to Unapproved Tourism Booked via Websites, Notice given 11 November 2014

1. That this House calls on the Government to resolve the legal issues of properties that are used by tourists or visitors secured via internet sites such as Airbnb and Stayz, which constitute a non-compliant use with state planning and/or local council regulations, as considered by the Legislative Council Inquiry into Tourism in Local Communities, especially under Term of Reference 3.

2. That this House notes that:

(a) the use of internet sites such as Airbnb to locate properties for short term stays by tourists or visitors has been increasing since 2008 when such sites first began,

(b) the use of this form of booking via internet sites results in the true number of tourists or visitors to an area being under-estimated which can mean that government is unable to plan properly for service provision,

(c) most properties listed on such websites are not approved by local government for tourism purposes and are non-compliant with the standards set in the Building Code of Australia for tourist accommodation,

(d) due to the lack of approval these properties may not be covered by insurance while being used by tourists,

(e) fire, safety and other standards of these properties may be inadequate for temporary holiday accommodation,

(f) this type of tourist or visitor accommodation may have negative impacts on neighbours due to issues such as noise, rubbish, parking and anti-social behaviour, and

(g) properties secured via the internet and used by tourists or visitors for short term stays may be competing unfairly with legitimate, approved tourist or visitor accommodation due to lack of:
(i) application approvals and fees,
(ii) compliance with regulation,
(iii) higher cost of commercial property purchase and
(iv) payment of local government commercial rates,

(h) strata managers and strata committees are seeking clarification about the legal issues surrounding the use of residential properties for short term letting.

3. That this House notes that when residential zoned approved dwellings are used for commercial or tourism purposes it diminishes the supply and affordability of housing and therefore contributes to housing affordability pressures.

Government fails a second time to respond to “Tourism in Local Communities” report

Jan Barham, Greens MP and spokesperson for Tourism, says she is bewildered and disappointed that the Baird Government has failed to honour a second date for its obligation to respond to the Final Report of the Upper House Inquiry into Tourism in local communities.

“Time is up. The Government has been given ample opportunity to provide its response to the report from the ‘Tourism in local communities’ inquiry, having been given an extension of one month on the required six month period for a Government response,” said Ms Barham.

“The Government recognises the tourism industry as a major economic driver of the state, but after more than seven months it still has not addressed the priority issues raised by the first Parliamentary inquiry into this industry, which identified key impacts and benefits for local communities.”

A response to the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 3 report was originally due on 8 September 2014. However, the Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council, Duncan Gay, submitted a request to the Clerk of the Parliaments for an extension of time, indicating that NSW Trade and Investment had advised it would submit the NSW Government response before 30 September 2014.

Ms Barham said, “We still don’t have a reply. The report made many recommendations to ensure that the tourism industry is sensibly reformed to provide world class standard products.

“Significant reforms recommended in the Government’s Visitor Economy Tourism Action Plan, released in December 2012, have produced some unintended consequences. Submissions to the inquiry indicated that the Government’s funding model was having major impacts on some local tourism entities’ ability to deliver long term plans and quality products, and the inquiry has recommended a review of those funding models. The inquiry also sought to find out from businesses and communities how these reforms were impacting on them and to recommend improvements, and those recommendations deserve a timely response.”

“While tourism provides jobs and income and is especially important in regional areas, impacts on local communities can be contentious, including the much contested issue of unapproved tourism activities such as party houses in residential areas, known as holiday letting.

“Another important finding from the inquiry was the need for state funding reform to assist councils in upgrading and funding necessary infrastructure to facilitate local tourism impacts.

“The Government’s response to this inquiry is necessary to ensure the future viability of this important industry,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Final Report, Tourism in Local Communities

Don’t let Gloucester tourism fall victim to coal seam gas

On World Tourism Day, Greens MP and Tourism spokesperson Jan Barham has called on the NSW Government to recognise the importance of tourism to communities such as Gloucester by reconsidering its approval of coal seam gas in the picturesque region.

“Visitors spend around $30 million annually in the Gloucester region, providing jobs for up to 240 people in the tourism sector and supporting many local businesses. Tourism is an increasingly important part of Gloucester’s economy and to jeopardise it through drilling for coal seam gas in the area is risky and short-sighted,” Ms Barham said.

Ms Barham noted that tourism operators are playing a significant role in the local protest against AGL’s plan to commence fracking four wells at their Waukivery pilot project site outside Gloucester. In a submission to the 2011 Parliamentary Inquiry into Coal Seam Gas, Tourism Advancing Gloucester’s (TAG) Thomas Davey wrote that:

‘TAG believes that CSG mining works hard against the scenic beauty of Gloucester, adding a slow uglification to a region long-recognised for its beauty; it destroys productive farming land; and it detracts from the tourism experiences of the town.’

“As the gateway to the World Heritage Listed Barrington Tops, the natural beauty of Gloucester is a key attractor for the region. The tourist operators of Gloucester see the impact this mining project will have on the landscape, along with the risks to air quality and water security, and the Government should act in the region’s long-term interests,” Ms Barham said.

“Although Minister Anthony Roberts’s announcement last Thursday that he was extending the Government’s coal seam gas moratorium is a welcome reprieve for some communities, it doesn’t apply to Gloucester.

“The community opposition to AGL’s coal seam gas project and the risk it poses to tourism mean that the Minister needs to take further action,” Ms Barham said.

“Communities in regional NSW work hard to establish local industries that complement the traditional agricultural basis for their survival.

“We should be supporting the long-term viability of rural communities through tourism instead of threatening their very existence by approving fracking despite the strong protests of the community, including businesses involved in tourism,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Accommodation providers left out of pocket by Bentley back-down should be compensated

North Coast accommodation providers should be compensated for the damage caused by the NSW Government’s plan to send hundreds of police to break up the peaceful protect at Bentley, says Jan Barham, Greens MP and spokesperson for Tourism and the North Coast.

“Until the Government’s last minute suspension of Metgasco’s drilling approval, accommodation providers all over the Northern Rivers region had been booked for up to 800 police who were being brought in to break up the Bentley blockade,” Ms Barham said.

“These businesses, and our local communities, have missed opportunities to host tourists who were unable to book accommodation due to the planned police operation. The least the Government can do is to compensate those operators who were directly affected by the reckless plan to use police force on a peaceful protest.”

Ms Barham noted that the planned police operation to allow gas drilling at Bentley lacked community support.

“It’s especially unfair that the communities who have expressed such strong opposition to unconventional gas might bear the economic impact from a mining operation that lacked a social licence.

“The communities of the Northern Rivers have wanted to remain gasfield-free, and our region’s wellbeing relies on industries such as tourism, not mining.

“I’m relieved that the police operation at Bentley did not proceed as planned following a large amount of community pressure. But the Government must shoulder responsibility for the financial impact on the North Coast accommodation industry caused by their last minute back-down,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

National Parks at risk from tourism activities

The recommendations of an inquiry into the impacts of tourism would leave NSW National Parks at risk from development and fossicking, warns Greens MP and Tourism spokesperson Jan Barham.

“I’m alarmed that the inquiry has recommended allowing the development of tourist accommodation and supporting fossicking within parks. This is a missed opportunity to recognise the importance of reserving pristine natural areas, and the value it contributes to the state’s tourism appeal,” Ms Barham said.

“The NSW Visitor Economy Taskforce’s Action Plan documented that nature and wildlife experiences are a key drawcard for the tourism industry in NSW. We need to maintain the state’s reputation for protecting the natural appeal of NSW.”

Ms Barham noted that building structures in National Parks was unnecessary and undermined the commercial tourism potential for local landholders.

“Aside from the impact of development on the park environment, landowners who are adjacent or near to these protected areas will miss out on opportunities to develop accommodation on private land.”

Ms Barham called on the Government to reject any activity that would undermine the quality of National Parks and erode the state’s tourism appeal.

“There is an unfortunate trend for governments, including this NSW Government, to remove protections from our most precious natural areas. I hope the Government sees that this would damage a major source of appeal for visitors, affecting communities and tourist operators across the state,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Visitor Economy Taskforce Final Report 2012 p. 34:

“It is the natural, unspoilt locations which most appeal to potential intrastate and interstate visitors to NSW. Wildlife, beach and coastal experiences are also highly appealing to potential visitors…”

Tourism Inquiry Report and Recommendations

Greens welcome Tourism Inquiry

A parliamentary inquiry into the value and impacts of tourism for local across NSW is welcome and long overdue, says Jan Barham, Greens MP and spokesperson on Tourism.

“I have long believed that a thorough tourism inquiry is necessary to develop a clear understanding about the benefits and impacts of tourism across the state. This Parliamentary inquiry will provide communities, councils and businesses with the opportunity to present their views and ideas about how to ensure a sustainable and successful future for tourism in NSW,” Ms Barham said.

“Many regional communities look to tourism as an economic and employment opportunity, but sometimes aren’t aware of the investment in infrastructure and the potential impact on residents, such as holiday letting and van camping in residential areas.”

The inquiry, to be conducted by a standing committee of the NSW Upper House, was approved on Thursday and its terms of reference include investigating and reporting on:

  1. the value of tourism to New South Wales communities and the return on investment of
    government grants and funds,
  2. the value of tourism to regional, rural and coastal communities,
  3. the impacts of tourism on Local Government Areas, including:
    • infrastructure services provision and asset management,
    • social impacts,
    • unregulated tourism, and
    • employment opportunities,
  4. the marketing and regulation of tourism, and
  5. the utilisation of special rate variations to support local tourism initiatives.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0407 065 061

Holiday let decision good for housing availability and local communities

Greens MP and spokesperson for Tourism and Housing, Jan Barham, has welcomed the Land and Environment Court decision on holiday letting of a residential-zoned dwelling in Terrigal.

“The Court’s clarification that homes in residential zones that were intended for long-term occupancy are inappropriate for tourism purposes is an important outcome for local communities. In coastal areas especially, the use of homes for short-term tourism rentals has seen many potential homes lost to permanent residents, causing a shortage in housing supply. The last two Census reports have shown that Byron Bay, where many homes have been given over to holiday lets, has lost permanent residents, and this has seen an erosion of community spirit,” Ms Barham said.

“In terms of tourism use, holiday letting has not served the community well. It has operated as an unapproved use that hasn’t contributed financially to council to offset the pressures of tourism. In an area already under housing stress such as Byron Bay, it has diminished the available rental stock for locals and has meant that essential workers such as teachers, nurses and tradespeople have not been able to find affordable housing.”

“The use of residential-zoned dwellings for tourism purposes has also had a major impact on housing prices, as buyers were lured into higher purchase prices on the expectation of high rental returns. During the peak tourism and event periods such as Schoolies, rents of $5,000 per week have not been uncommon. But often the homes sit vacant for long periods and the loss of neighbours and a sense of community has been devastating. During times of peak short-term
rental, the impacts can be unbearable as noise and antisocial behaviour have often forced people to move when amenity is lost.”

“For over a decade this issue has been a problem in Byron Bay and it has escalated across other coastal communities. As well as the unplanned impacts on locals, there have been risks for tourists due to the lack of appropriate planning conditions, such as for fire and structural safety.”

“Local government faces a difficult task in addressing housing availability and affordability. This decision clarifies the use of approved residential dwellings for permanent residents, which should free up dwellings to ease the housing stress and ensure that tourism occurs in appropriate areas,” Ms Barham said.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0407 065 061

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