MP wants short-stay probe

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - War­ren Hately

Mem­ber for War­ren-Black­wood Terry Redman wants an in­quiry into Airbnb to help root out un­li­censed op­er­a­tors.

Mr Redman made the call in Par­lia­ment late last week, say­ing the State Govern­ment had to take lead­er­ship on the is­sue which was gen­er­at­ing grow­ing con­cern within WA’s tourism sec­tor.

“I have had sig­nif­i­cant feed­back on the is­sue of un­reg­is­tered ac­com­mo­da­tion places, and claims that there is not a level play­ing field com­pared to com­mer­cial ac­com­mo­da­tion providers,” Mr Redman said.

“The is­sue is a com­plex one, with com­pli­ance for short-stay ac­com­mo­da­tion be­ing a chal­leng­ing is­sue for lo­cal gov­ern­ments.”

Mr Redman’s call fol­lows an on­go­ing WA Plan­ning Com­mis­sion re­view of Airbnb’s ef­fects on the econ­omy, and last week’s moves by the Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River to in­crease polic­ing of un­reg­is­tered op­er­a­tors. “The is­sue is un­reg­is­tered prop­er­ties com­pet­ing with regis­tered ac­com­mo­da­tion providers, and not hav­ing to com­ply with the same reg­u­la­tions or con­tribut­ing to the pro­mo­tion of the re­gion,” Mr Redman said.

Newly formed group Regis­tered Ac­com­mo­da­tion Providers Mar­garet River Re­gion said it was un­fair some op­er­a­tors us­ing plat­forms such as Airbnb were dodg­ing higher rates, reg­is­tra­tion fees and com­pli­ance re­quire­ments which the tra­di­tional sec­tor car­ried.

Spokesman Robert McDonald told the Times the coun­cil’s lead­er­ship on the is­sue — and now Mr Redman step­ping into the arena — were wel­come.

“Our group does not seek ‘pro­tec­tion’,” he said.

“We are very used to com­pe­ti­tion. What we do seek is sus­tain­abil­ity and a level play­ing ground for ev­ery­one who wants to play part-time hote­lier.”

Mr Redman’s mo­tion also had sup­port from Lib­eral Vasse MLA Libby Met­tam.

“This is not about mum and dad op­er­a­tors who are earn­ing ex­tra cash rent­ing out a room or a granny flat,” she said.

“This is about those who are com­pet­ing di­rectly with ho­tels or the reg­u­lated short-stay sec­tor who em­ploy staff and in­vest in com­pli­ance.

“A proper reg­u­la­tory frame­work would pro­vide con­sis­tency and con­fi­dence for ho­tel op­er­a­tors, lo­cal gov­ern­ments and the tourism in­dus­try as a whole.”

Airbnb Aus­tralia did not re­spond to in­quiries by dead­line.

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