'The government doesn't give a damn about residents'
BALLINA MP Tamara Smith was shot down in parliament when she asked an important question about short-term holiday letting, but she's not giving up without a fight.
During question time yesterday, Ms Smith asked Planning and Housing Minister Anthony Roberts if he would consider giving Byron Shire Council the power to impose a 90-day limit for short-term holiday letting.
In response Mr Roberts said she was "a bit late".
"Ben Franklin raised this issue with me some months ago," he said, according to the Hansard transcript.
"I give him credit and thank him for that.
"I am running through the list.
"Do I have any recent correspondence from the member for Ballina on this matter? None that I can see."
Mr Roberts then went on to say there was a whole‑of‑government policy for short-term holiday letting that would provide a "improve certainty and streamline processes alongside a new co‑regulatory governance model which will help manage the conduct of visitors and hosts".
But Ms Smith said the Minister had "ridiculed" residents' concerns about extreme levels of short term holiday letting.
"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." she said.
"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.
"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."