NO LET UP: Francesca Esposito, Victoria McEwen and Steve Haby from NSW Approved Accommodation Accord with Yasmin Catley and Asren Pugh.
NO LET UP: Francesca Esposito, Victoria McEwen and Steve Haby from NSW Approved Accommodation Accord with Yasmin Catley and Asren Pugh. Contributed

Labour backs council power on STHL

NSW Labor this week backed calls by local communities like Byron Bay to have a greater say in determining the number of days that properties could be let out for short-term holiday letting.

The Berejiklian Government has released a draft amendment to the Exempt and Complying Development SEPP that would allow short term holiday letting without development approval all year round, with councils outside Sydney only able to reduce the threshold to 180 days per year.

The proposed 180 day cap would mean a property could be let for all school holidays, public holidays and every weekend.

Byron Shire Council still has concerns regarding the new policy and at last week's meeting resolved to write to the Minister for Planning to seek an urgent meeting to request a deferral of Byron Shire from the new state-wide planning rules to enable a full consideration of the current impacts of STHL in the Shire.

Council has a raft of concerns over the new plan including the absence so far of a compliance code to inform STHL planning rules and is asking for a reduction in the number of days that short term rental accommodation is permissible from 365 days to 90 days.

Shadow Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Yasmin Catley met with representatives NSW Approved Accommodation Accord in Byron bay this week and said there needed to be greater balance and protections for the local community which is being negatively impacted by rampant holiday letting.

Ms Catley said councils were well positioned to set appropriate caps to reflect local circumstances.

"Short term holiday letting is a growing industry and we need to get the balance right in terms of competing rights and responsibilities,” she said. "That is why Labor backs the right of local councils to make locally informed decisions on behalf of the community on the relevant number of days a property can be used for short term holiday lets.

"My fear is that the Government's proposal may lead to a free for all with local residents bearing the brunt of the impact.”

She said the Government had so far failed to release a draft Code of Conduct for short term holiday lettings, as well as a mandatory registration scheme.

Labor candidate for Ballina Asren Pugh said: "A lack of balance in the laws are placing pressure on the availability of housing in the region, while the lack of a level playing field is threatening the viability of approved accommodation businesses that employee local people. We are seeing our communities bear the brunt of the explosion of short term holiday letting.”