Tweed Council supports bed-tax trial in Byron
TWEED Shire Council will support Byron Shire's plan to trial the implementation of a bed tax on all short-term holiday letting (STHL) facilities in the Byron region.
Last month, Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson wrote to the Tweed Shire Council seeking support for its request to the NSW Government that Byron Bay be selected for a trial for the implementation and management of a Trial Tourism Accommodation Levy, or bed tax.
In the letter, Cr Richardson said trialling a bed tax could help alleviate the associated costs on its infrastructure backlog of $40million.
During Wednesday's meeting, Tweed Shire Council voted 6-1 to provide a letter of support for the possibility of a bed tax being trialled in Byron Shire.
Only councillor James Owen voted against the decision, saying the council should wait until the government returned its findings from an options paper on short-term letting it conducted earlier this year.
"I'd rather wait and see what the state comes up with before doing something like this,” Cr Owen said.
But Cr Warren Polglase warned the council needed to start coming up with a plan on how to manage the increasing number of short-term letting on the Tweed.
"I believe that the way it is going is like the Uber industry,” Cr Polglase said.
"This will be driving a wedge into the accommodation industry.
"(STHL) does create some issues. The more we get, the more we will have those issues and we need to start to do something now.”
The council's support of Byron's bed tax trial follows a motion put forward by Tweed Shire Council earlier this month at the Local Government NSW Conference about lobbying the federal and state governments to consider instituting a booking tax for STHL agents.
The motion received support and was carried.
Last month, Byron Shire Council made the decision to start issuing fines to any homes found to be illegally holiday letting.
The online STHL operator Stayz has previously condemned this decision, stating it would prefer the introduction of a centralised system of registration, a tougher code of conduct for home owners and an industry-funded compliance body.