Tourism accommodation body predicts a climb down.
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Mr Kean’s announcement, with some details expected by 5pm today (Wednesday), will form the government’s response to a NSW Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment and Planning report into short-term holiday letting, released in October 2016. The report recommended the NSW government adopt a light regulatory touch to short-term rentals and said restrictions should be eased so that home owners could rent out a room – or their entire house – without being fined by local councils for failing to lodge a development application for change of use. The report, which examined how the sector should be legally regulated, split home owners and renters, cheered retailers and restaurateurs and horrified hoteliers, owner corporations and strata residents. Local councils will also be closely scrutinising the NSW government’s position and hoping for clarity and guidance on how they should regulate the sharing economy through the planning policies they apply in their own backyards. This came up in last year’s committee report, which recommended a concrete definition of short-term rental accommodation (STRA) to help local government, for example specifying the number of bedrooms that could be occupied or the number of days a property was rented in one year. The committee also recommended giving NSW councils more detail around planning regulations and how to apply these to STRA. Another suggestion was that the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) on exempt and complying development be amended to permit STRA and make the process quicker and easier. Local councils has responded quite differently to Airbnb depending on their location. Some NSW coastal councils, such as Gosford, Pittwater, Shoalhaven and Kiama have welcomed Airbnb but others like Byron Shire Council have battled with an onslaught of partygoers, while rising house prices lock locals out of the market. Meanwhile, many metropolitan Sydney councils, such as City of Sydney and Randwick have demanded planning permission for short-term accommodation as complaints from residents grow. Although the inquiry recommended greenlighting Airbnb and sweeping away penalties, Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), the peak body for the hotel industry, is tentatively predicting that the Minister will be more circumspect. A TAA spokesman said that while the NSW government was unlikely to follow the lead of cities like New York, Berlin or San Francisco and ban Airbnb lets that were not owner-occupied, it was hopeful that some safeguards would be in place to protect residents from city apartment blocks being turned into 'quasi hotels'. “It has been hard to ignore the millions of dollars that Airbnb has poured into ads and MP’s ‘advocacy’ over the past few months but we are confident the NSW government will be able to differentiate between genuine 'sharing' and the commercial exploitation of the new online platforms,” he said. There is a possibility that the government will establish a committee to examine the more contentious aspects of short-term rentals. TAA CEO Carol Giuseppi said in her response to the original inquiry that TAA did not oppose genuine sharing, where the owner was present during the stay, but that figures from Inside Airbnb had shown this was not the majority of cases. Inside Airbnb reported that 61 per cent of Sydney listings were for whole houses or apartments and that 39 per cent of these were available for 365 days a year, a sign they were effectively functioning as commercial businesses. Almost one-third were listings for multiple properties. “Our biggest concern is that city apartments will be turned into quasi-hotels, which has already taken place though in a number of cases residents have gone to court to force commercial operators out,” said the spokesman. “The concern is the NSW government could make it harder for residents to keep Airbnb out, thereby wrecking their community and going against all the rules that were originally in place to keep the apartments for residents only.” Instead, the TAA wants to outlaw those short-term lets that are obviously commercial and for councils to be given stringent powers to enforce the rules. It is also hoping that the state government will limit the number of days accommodation can be let out in a year. The TAA believes that operators like Airbnb should be accountable for properties being compliant, in order to protect the safety of renters and other residents from nuisance. [post_title] => NSW government’s response to Airbnb report imminent [post_excerpt] => Tourism accommodation body predicts a climb down. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26941 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-21 11:16:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-21 01:16:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26941 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26196 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-02-08 16:44:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-08 05:44:30 [post_content] => Melbourne Crown Casino The Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) released a report today (Tuesday) slamming the state’s alcohol and gambling regulator for being too weak, divided and disorganised to address problem drinking and gambling and for being too soft on Melbourne's Crown Casino. Auditor-General Andrew Greaves gave the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) an emphatic thumbs down across a number of key issues in his report and said a big shake up of the organisation and its work was needed. What emerges is a picture of an agency which has dropped the ball on problem alcohol and gambling in Victoria; one which has put quotas, convenience and box ticking ahead of genuinely trying to head off high risk situations. He criticised the agency for failing to clamp down on rogue venues that supplied alcohol to minors and drunk people and venues that allowed both groups to gamble. The report said the Commission’s management approach and culture meant it employed “superficial inspection activities” and focused on meeting quotas rather than pursuing harm minimisation. There are signs too that criminal elements have been given too much freedom inside Melbourne Casino, the only Victorian venue that provides gambling and alcohol round-the-clock and the holder of 13 liquor licenses. Mr Greaves said the Commission’s compliance division had “not applied a level of focus on the casino that reflects its status and risk as the largest gaming venue in the state” and its approach had been patchy, at best. He said the Commission had “not paid sufficient attention’ to problem areas like barring people who had been excluded by police or keeping an eye on money laundering and problem gambling. Melbourne's Crown Casino was the subject of court judgements on Chinese money laundering at the end of last year, activities which involved regular large buy-ins and cash-outs of chips. Players lost more than $1.8 billion at the casino in 2015–16. Other criticisms of the VCGLR included:
- Licensing applications not thoroughly assessed before being approved. In some cases licenses were granted where applicants had hidden the truth about their past criminal convictions and associates
- Allocating resources to compliance activities inflexibly and based on factors other than risk
- Inadequate guidance and training for inspectors
- Unreliable data about liquor and gambling inspections
- Building VCGLR's leadership capacity
- Having a specialist team to monitor the Melbourne Crown Casino
- Addressing serious systemic gaps in the compliance division
- Seeking additional budget to establish a presence in regional Victoria
- Reviewing and updating people and culture policies and practices
- Working better with other regulatory and enforcement bodies such as Victoria Police.
- changes planning laws to regulate short-term rental accommodation
- allows home sharing, and letting a principal place of residence, as exempt development
- allows empty houses to be let as exempt and complying development
- investigates impacts on traditional accommodation operators
- strengthens the Holiday and Short-Term Rental Code of Conduct
- develops a compliance system
- issues guidance and provides education for councils and the community
- communicates with owners about their rights and obligations
- amends strata laws and later reviews the effectiveness of changes
- collects information on the industry
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