Open forum on affordable housing and short-term rentals

Open forum on affordable housing and short-term rentals
Barbara Francis & Rus Littleson

You are invited to a We Live Here forum, the first after a long, pandemic-induced hiatus.

The housing crisis has been capturing headlines for some time now and this forum will be an opportunity for the community to get some answers from our pollies.

Come along to the Library at The Dock, 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands, at 6.45pm for a 7pm start on July 19.

We Live Here has invited state and local leaders from across the political spectrum, as well as resident activists:

  • Ellen Sandell, Greens MLA for Melbourne,
  • Gabrielle De Vietri, Greens MLA for Richmond
  • Sheena Watt, Labour Party MLC for Northern Metropolitan region
  • Evan Mulholland Liberal Party MLC for Northern Metropolitan region
  • Rohan Leppert, Melbourne councillor 
  • Moderator: Tom Bacon, Strata Lawyer

To check who has accepted our invitation, visit our website or our Facebook page. 

The past few months have seen some major developments regarding the housing crisis:

1. Worried Labor MPs leak policy ideas

Some coy Labor MPs are privately considering capping the number of nights operators can let properties as short stays, imposing a “tourist tax”, or empowering councils to levy higher commercial rates on short-stay properties. The MPs are challenging Labor for fear of disaffecting youth voters, among the hardest hit by the housing crisis.

2. Greens policy announcement and Bill

The Greens made major policy statement and on 30 May, introduced the Owners Corporations Amendment (Short-stay Accommodation) Bill 2023, aiming to:

put a cap on the number of days that a dwelling can be used for short stays; 

give owners’ corporations power to regulate short stay rentals; establish a mandatory register of short-stay properties.

The Bill was defeated 53-32 after an extraordinary debate with continual Labor interjections that exposed the government’s frustratingly inertial stance.

3. Liberal support for reforms

Liberal MPs including Victorian Opposition Leader John Pesutto, and Matthew Guy voted in favour of the Greens’ Bill to introduce basic reforms.

4. Industry bodies speak out

The Victorian Tourism Industry Council and Accommodation Association has been lobbying the government about its concerns around the housing shortage. 

5. City councils act

Yarra City Council in Melbourne is considering a tax on short-term rentals such as Airbnb. Bass Coast, Frankston, Mornington Peninsula councils and most recently Warrnambool Council have implemented registration systems, with annual fees. Yarra Ranges Council lobbied the state government on short stays. Port Phillip Council is investigating means of regulating the short-stay industry.

6. Rental and housing enquiry

The Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee announced an inquiry into rental and housing affordability. Trung Luu (committee chair) emailed We Live Here last month with the details of the enquiry. The committee has 12 members: three Labor, five Liberal, two from Legalise Cannabis and one each from the Greens and the Nationals. Check the We Live Here Facebook page for more details. •

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