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We Live Here

12 Jul 2016

Melbourne City Council has voted unanimously to support residents in the fight to regulate the short-stay industry.

A motion to pressure the State Government to support residents was put forward by Cr Cathy Oke at the June 7 meeting of the Future Melbourne Committee and was supported by all councillors present. The vote was taken after considerable discussion and presentations by Paul Salter representing the short-stay industry and by Marshall Delves from We Live Here.

The Lord Mayor Robert Doyle will be writing to the Ministers for Planning and Consumer Affairs, seeking to improve the powers of owners’ corporations (OCs) on a range of issues including short-stays, rooming houses and emergency management.

Cr Doyle will be highlighting the shortcomings of the government’s review process to date. The council believes the scope of the review has not gone far enough, and that it should also cover the Residential Tenancy Act 1997, Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, Building Act 1993 and the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Council is very concerned that legislation has failed to keep up with economic and technological change. The motion to formally take these concerns to the State Government was initiated by Cr Oke after she attended the We Live Here “Meet the Residents” Forum on May 9.

Minister resigns

We Live Here supporters have been very vocal in opposing the ill-considered bill proposed by former Minister for Consumer Affairs Jane Garrett. We are pleased that the Minister’s resignation has given the State Government time to rethink this bill.

The Minister did not understand the issues facing residents dealing with short-stays. The bill merely addressed the issue of noisy guests and little else. The We Live Here Movement wants the State Government to wake up and have a look at the global issues that go way beyond the behaviour of short-stay guests.

We need a level playing field. All tourism accommodation operators should be part of the same regulatory framework. You cannot have some tourism accommodation operators paying GST and others avoiding GST, being effectively subsidised by all taxpayers. All accommodation businesses should be subject to the same fire, safety and health regulations.

New York, San Francisco and Berlin show how short-stays can be regulated. Last month, San Francisco’s board of supervisors voted unanimously 10-nil to pass tougher legislation that makes short-stay businesses enforce the city’s rental laws.

In May, New York State Assembly passed a law to control the advertising of apartments as holiday rentals. Berlin has passed new laws that allow short-stays to let no more than 50 per cent of the property – the very model that Airbnb features in its marketing.

Around the world, major cities are facing the same issues around amenity and fairness and coming up with solutions. The challenge for the State Government and councils is to develop – NOW – a comprehensive framework to regulate an unregulated industry and protect the rights of residents to live in a safe environment.

Change.org petition

Please join the fight to protect residential community living and sign our petition at www.welivehere.net. Please continue to send us your feed-back to campaign@welivehere.net

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