Minister ignores Byron concerns on holiday letting

Byron Shire residents have had their concerns about extreme levels of short term holiday letting ridiculed by Planning Minister Anthony Roberts in Parliament today, said Member for Ballina Tamara Smith.

“I asked the Minister for Planning during Question Time if the Liberal National government would allow Byron Shire Council to limit unregulated short term holiday letting to 90 days due to the negative impacts that holiday letting is having on the community,” said Ms Smith.

“Instead of considering the question, the Minister quoted the government’s proposed policy that it supports short term holiday rental accommodation for whole homes for 365 days in areas outside Sydney unless a local council applies to have it reduced to not less than 180 days.”

“In other words the LibNats do not give a damn about the residents of tourist towns like Byron Bay and instead are kow-towing to the huge multinational stay economy providers and greedy investors. The Minister made it loud and clear that he disregards the realities of living in a community where long term rental accommodation is unaffordable due to short term holiday letting and he has put the nail in the coffin for Byron Bay to become a ghost town where only tourists can afford to visit and residents are driven out.”

“The Greens and I have introduced an amendment to the government’s one-size-fits- all short term rental accommodation legislation which would allow councils such as Byron Shire Council to limit unregulated holiday letting to 90 days or to whatever timeframe suits local conditions.”

“As it now stands, holiday destinations such as Byron Bay cannot regulate short term holiday rental accommodation despite the negative impacts it has on the community. This is unfair and unsustainable for regional towns where the ratio of tourists to permanent residents is so out of balance and where land values are so high.

“I will be making this a major election issue – it is local communities that should be able to decide on the right balance of holiday letting compared to permanent homes on offer for residents to rent,” said Ms Smith.

Tamara Smith has set up an online petition for residents to sign at http://www.tamarasmith.com.au/holidayletting

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