Call to level the short-stay field
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.
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.