Councils seek more control over Airbnb

Airbnb apartment at Shingley Beach.
Airbnb apartment at Shingley Beach.

SHORT-TERM accommodation providers like Airbnb have transformed the sector and councils wants control back.

With an overwhelming majority, local government delegates voted to lobby the State Government to come up with a clear policy for managing short-term accommodation.

They want providers to supply property addresses so they can ensure these places comply with rating and planning scheme requirements.

Noosa Shire Council Mayor Tony Wellington said it was not a small issue.

"It's now impacting on our rental market, we are reducing in the number of permanent available rental establishments, which is leading to an increase in prices, which in turn is leading to an increase in homelessness," he said.

Cr Wellington said he was not trying to stop short-term accommodation providers.

"But we do need to know where they are in terms of our planning and safety issues," he said.

"All we're trying to find is where these problems are and then it's up to each individual council."

The vote, 166 for and 23 against, came despite a forum run by University of Queensland Professor Sara Dolnicar being held at the conference on Monday.

Prof Dolnicar spoke about the benefits of peer-to-peer accommodation providers and the need to be careful of over-regulation. She said there was no one-size-fits-all solution.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones spoke at the conference and brought the issue up to the delegates.

"I do realise that this is an issue where different councils do have different experiences and different views," she told the conference.

"I have an industry taskforce that I established which has high leaders in the tourism industry ... they also raised Airbnb.

"So today I will say that I'm going to set-up a taskforce... which will have representatives from the share economy as well as local government and the accommodation sector, so we can sit down in a constructive way and nut out some of those issues."

Douglas Shire Council Linda Cardew spoke about the issue before the motion was discussed.

"It's clear that it's a growth industry and it's here to stay," she said.

Ms Cardew said councils needed to come to grips with the impact online short-term booking websites was having.

She said there were opportunities in here area for people and property owners to use places like Airbnb to make money in "leaner times".

Topics:  airbnb councils lgaq local government rental market tourism

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