Call to level the short-stay field

Southern Telegraph - - NEWS - Pierra Wil­lix

Airbnbs do not con­trib­ute to lo­cal em­ploy­ment or eco­nomic growth and monies col­lected by Airbnb and other on­line book­ing op­er­a­tors go off­shore with lit­tle, if any, funds ex­pended in Rock­ing­ham.

Stacey Graham

An in­quiry into short-stay ac­com­mo­da­tion has heard that reg­u­la­tions should be in­tro­duced by the State Govern­ment to level the play­ing field, with sug­ges­tions all ac­com­mo­da­tion providers should be ap­proved and pay as­so­ci­ated fees, charges and taxes.

In her sub­mis­sion to the Eco­nom­ics and In­dus­try Stand­ing Committee, Tourism Rock­ing­ham pres­i­dent Stacey Graham said the 20 Tourism Rock­ing­ham ac­com­mo­da­tion providers, which in­cluded reg­is­tered bed and break­fast busi­nesses, ho­tels and pri­vate short-stay rental providers, were be­ing “se­verely and ad­versely” af­fected by the in­flux of Airbnbs in Rock­ing­ham.

“It is be­lieved that ap­prox­i­mately 240 Airbnb op­er­a­tors are non-com­pli­ant and op­er­at­ing il­le­gally in Rock­ing­ham with no re­quire­ments to meet any of the acts or fees,” she wrote.

“Airbnbs do not con­tribut­ing to lo­cal em­ploy­ment or eco­nomic growth and monies col­lected by Airbnb and other on­line book­ing op­er­a­tors go off­shore with lit­tle, if any, funds ex­pended in Rock­ing­ham.”

In its sub­mis­sion to the committee, the City of Rock­ing­ham said un­reg­is­tered short-stay ac­com­mo­da­tion providers were “dis­rup­tive new play­ers” in the sec­tor.

City chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Parker said lo­cal gov­ern­ments of­ten lacked the re­sources to en­force and proac­tively reg­u­late the mar­ket, and the City fol­lowed a com­plaint-re­sponse process for en­force­ment.

“The City agrees that there should be a level play­ing field for equal­ity and con­sis­tency,” he said.

“A holis­tic ap­proach is needed in Statewide reg­u­la­tions/ leg­is­la­tion for all op­er­a­tors, rather than an ad hoc lo­cal govern­ment by lo­cal govern­ment ap­proach.”

In her sub­mis­sion, Ms Graham said Tourism Rock­ing­ham sup­ported the in­tro­duc­tion of leg­is­la­tion to even the play­ing field that would re­quire Airbnb providers to meet the same reg­u­la­tions as other providers.

She wrote all should be re­quired to meet ex­actly the same re­quire­ments as reg­is­tered short stay ac­com­mo­da­tion providers, and Airbnb providers should not have an ad­van­tage in the mar­ket in be­ing able to ad­ver­tise heav­ily re­duced rates, achiev­able through not hav­ing to pay fees.

The committee is set to re­port its find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions to the State Govern­ment by June 27.

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