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 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 the We Live Here Movement.
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. Legislation must be updated to ensure that the health, safety and amenity of all property owners is maintained as well as that of the public.
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.
We Live Here supporters have been very vocal in opposing the ill-considered bill proposed by former Minister for Consumer Affairs Jane Garret. 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.
The government must not ignore these issues and must act now – we do not want to wait for a tragedy to occur.
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 responsible for enforcing 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 regulate short-stays to allow letting 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.
Supreme Court stops short-stay operators
We Live Here welcomes a recent landmark decision in the Supreme Court that ordered tenants who were operating a short-stay business without permission, to be evicted. It is the first step towards regulating the tourism accommodation industry which we totally support.
The We Live Here movement has been alerted to community concerns about the Western Distributor project and the impact it will have on inner city communities.
The main issue is the potential for bringing more traffic into an already congested inner city, dividing communities with traffic corridors. We welcome your input on this issue. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with specific details about how it will affect your community, and we will publish them on our website.
Inner city school
The We Live Here movement has been supporting City Schools for City Kids in its ongoing efforts to obtain a desperately-needed school in the inner city, and were disappointed that no allocation was made for one in this year’s state budget. We have found support amongst Melbourne councillors and will continue to lobby all sides of politics on this issue.
Please join the fight to protect residential community living and sign our petition at www.welivehere.net
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