By We Live Here
A by-election for the vacant position of lord mayor will be held in May. It will be conducted entirely by postal voting, with ballot packs mailed to voters between Monday, April 23 and Thursday, April 26.
Your ballot paper must be returned, either by mail or delivered in person to the electoral office by 6pm on Friday, May 11.
Fourteen candidates have nominated and you can check out their credentials on the Victorian Electoral Commission website at www.vec.vic.gov.au
We Live Here encourages you to go along to the meet-the-candidate sessions being held by the Southbank Residents Association on April 26 and the Docklands Chamber of Commerce on April 30. In particular, you need to find out for yourselves which candidates genuinely support residents and those that are entirely pro-business.
Already we know that the mayoral candidates have differing views on the tram bridge proposal. Some candidates have not yet formed a view. Others, when pressed by We Live Here, said they would think about it more before declaring a position.
One candidate went so far as to disparage the number of people affected by the proposal as not worth worrying about, in blissful ignorance of the widely-reported rally against the tram bridge attended by hundreds of Yarra’s Edge residents and others just a short while ago.
With the exit of Robert Doyle, we now have the opportunity to also get rid of his legacy – the “business before residents” gerrymander that gives commercial interests two votes while residents only have one.
Many candidates have webpages with policies that can be found via Google – time for voters to do some homework!
This is your chance to have your say. The We Live Here movement encourages you to contact the candidates and seek their views on short-stays in residential buildings and what they are going to do for residents.
Remember your vote is extremely important to them. Make sure that it counts.
Airbnb sending short-stay operators to the farm
We Live Here was not surprised to read in the Docklands News (February 28, 2018, “Short-stays: a race to the bottom?”) that short-stay operators might be driven out of business by Airbnb.
It’s not so long ago that residents were being told by short-stay operators to “get used to the sharing economy – if you don’t like it, go live on a farm.”
And it is not just Airbnb killing short-stay operators – there are many factors including the vast expansion in hotel room numbers in Melbourne which will put downward pressure on room rates. Last year it was estimated that more than 8000 hotel rooms were in the pipeline – all approved by Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
What is really being exposed is the flawed economics of short-stays.
Investors can get 20 per cent more on an ordinary residential lease compared with the best that a short-stay operator can offer who lets their apartments out by the night. Rental demand is sky-high right now with crowds attending rental open-for-inspections. If short-stay operators are forced to pay market rent for the properties they lease, the risk will go up and the return will go down.
Perhaps the short-stay operators, self-described Airbnb-victims, should stop bleating about the sharing economy and migrate out of the city into farm-stays? It might be more lucrative.
Short-Stay Bill gathering dust
Since returning to the Legislative Council in December, 2017 the Owners Corporation Amendment (Short-stay Accommodation) Bill 2016 appears to have been left on the shelf gathering dust, having barely moved from No 18 on the Notice Paper.
Is this a de facto concession of defeat?
We Live Here calls on the state government to admit it made a mistake collaborating with Airbnb on this Bill, and just trash it altogether.
We also repeat our request for the government to start talking constructively to all the parties affected by the unregulated short-stay industry so there is a level playing field for all.
As a not-for-profit organisation, donations from individuals and buildings keep our campaigns going. To register as a supporter of We Live Here or to make a donation please visit our website at welivehere.net
We Live Here does not accept donations from commercial tourism interests.
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We Live Here members can make a presentation to your owners’ corporation committee upon request.
We welcome your comments and feedback, and invite suggestions for topics you would like us to address in this column.