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Short-Stay Accommodation - Regulation of the Market

Vica Bayley MP

Vica Bayley MP  -  Tuesday, 12 September 2023

Tags: Short Stay Accommodation, Housing Crisis


Another week and another devastating report about the negative impact of short-stay accommodation on the long-term rental market. This time it is the Real Estate Institute highlighting a national 20+ per cent year-on-year increase in houses to short-stay accommodation. Over 80 per cent of these are home conversions, something the institute says is a driving force behind the rental crisis.

Cannibalisation of the long-term rental stock by conversion to short-stay accommodation is happening in both the cities and regions in Tasmania. This is having a profound negative impact when Tasmania is already struggling to attract bus drivers, nurses, teachers and other critical workers. In the regions, accommodation for workers and the tourism sector is almost absent.

The evidence is that short-stay accommodation conversions cuts into the already inadequate rental supply market. When will you take action to regulate short-stay accommodation, so that more Tasmanians can find a home?



Mr Speaker, I thank the member for Clark whose question and his good intentions are no doubt about ensuring that we grow our housing stock here in Tasmania. We have a real challenge with housing in Tasmania because people are moving back here with the growing economy. People want to be here. Tasmanians are not leaving the state like they were under Labor and the Greens those terrible years, in those dark years when Labor shut down the forest industry in Tasmania and people had to flee our state looking for work. Unlike those bad old days, under the Rockliff Liberal government our population is swelling and growing and people want to be here again. Our young people do not feel that they have to leave Tasmania. Those who do are choosing to leave to pursue their opportunities but they do not have to leave like they used to in those bad old days.

We acknowledge that we need to continue to stimulate and play our role as a government in stimulating housing, not just public and social and affordable housing but with a strong appetite for dwelling construction and the provision of homes by mum and dad investors here in Tasmania.

The short-stay accommodation principles that have been adopted by our Government some eight years ago are actually modelled on Hobart City Council's existing rules that have now flowed into the planning system -

Dr Woodruff - They are having a horrifying effect.

Mr SPEAKER - Order, Leader of the Greens, order.

It is now the case that Tasmania has one of the clearest policies around short-stay accommodation in Australia. We have flexible planning rules and, thanks to minister Jaensch, some of the most transparent data collection and publication to inform Tasmania's politicians including you, Mr Bayley.

Dr Woodruff - So we know the numbers. How is that helping?

Mr SPEAKER - Leader of the Greens, order.

We have provided for a fair and consistent approach to the regulation of short-stay accommodation, which is simple to administer. It is also easier to police than jurisdictions that place a number of nights that they can operate a year. That only provides for an environment where people are looking for work arounds. Notwithstanding this, I am aware of the Greens position on this. I hope my own comments just now are educative for you, Mr Bayley: that in fact the position that we took is from Hobart City Council, which is one of the noisiest councils on this issue these days. There are some who would like to see the planning rules in relation to short stay more heavily regulated and the Greens are among those.

To be clear, the new Tasmanian Planning Scheme which is now in place provides that if any -

Ms White - Is it?

Mr FERGUSON - Yes it is, Ms White. Ms White, thank you for the interjection.

To be clear the TPS already provides that if a council has a case to support further limits in their jurisdiction on short stay they have the option to seek to apply local restrictions through the Tasmanian Planning Commission, the independent planning commission, which is empowered to make those judgments. To date, not one of the 22 councils in the TPS has sought to amend their local provision schedules around this way. Hobart City Council, which has been the noisiest - I think I could say that - out of the 29 councils in Tassie -

Ms Haddad - They've tried to do what your Government said they could do.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr FERGUSON - Their draft LPS has now been published, and guess what, they did not seek to add extra regulation to short stay in their draft LPS. The Hobart City Council has not proposed a considered or strategic approach to the regulation of short-stay accommodation through their draft LPS which, after more than six years of preparation, has only recently been released for exhibition.

In our view as a government, short-stay accommodation is one of the many factors in the broader housing and long-term rental markets. It would be a mistake for policy-makers and even crossbench politicians to try to pick off the owners of short-stay accommodation as the cause of the problem. The problem is real. There is a shortage of housing in Tasmania as a result of a growing economy and a growing population. The housing sector has some work to do the catch up with demand.