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It is time for evidenced-based policy decisions about short stay accommodation.

Tasmanian Council of Social Service (TasCOSS), Shelter Tasmania, the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) and the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania (TICT) have come together to call for adequate data to assess the impact of short stay accommodation in Tasmania.

“In the absence of comprehensive data every decision made is guess work.  We need a robust evidence base underlying policy and resourcing responses and time has run out on waiting for it,” said TasCOSS CEO, Kym Goodes.

In light of the Tasmanian Planning Commission recommendations released last week, we (as peak bodies) are calling on the Tasmanian government, AirBnb and Stayz to prioritise providing definitive listing data so we can truly map where there has been a significant shift from the long-term rental market.

“This is needed to resource appropriate policy, service and regulation responses; to minimise the impact on housing affordability and the shape of our communities; and additionally ensure our vibrant tourism based economy is preserved,” said Shelter CEO Patti Chugg.

“Following the State Government announcement earlier this year that an agreement had been reached with Air BnB and Stayz on data sharing, leadership is now required to make sure that data is provided quickly and with sufficient detail to be useful in guiding our responses,” the four Peak Bodies today stated. 

LGAT CEO, Dr Katrena Stephenson said it is clear that there is significant non-compliance with the current planning permit requirements, and some considerable confusion likely remains as to what owners must do if they want to use their property for short stay accommodation.

“These four peak bodies call on Airbnb and Stayz to support the State Government through requiring proof of compliance for all their current and prospective listing to ensure they are not promoting illegal accommodation operations,” Dr Stephenson said.

“We also think it is vital that the Government resource an effective education campaign to give all in the Tasmanian community a clear understanding on what the expectations are of owners.  While the majority of property owners are allowed to use their premises for short stay accommodation, they must still lodge paperwork with their local council.  This is important as it not only ensures they are aware of safety requirements but also gives us vital data that supports decisions about our suburbs and towns more generally”.

Luke Martin, TICT CEO said the need for communications, resourcing and community understanding is critical. 

“This is the role of the State Government.  It has created the opportunity for short stay to operate and it must now resource data collection and compliance and ensure communication is a priority.” 

“It is important that Tasmanians and tourists can all enjoy the benefits of home sharing businesses like Airbnb and Stayz. Short stay accommodation is an integral part of Tasmania’s tourism successes,” said Mr Martin.

Ultimately, it is the case that some Tasmanians have been displaced as a result of short stay accommodation.  We must understand where that has occurred and what the impact is in order to prioritise the building of new houses and ensure the Affordable Housing Strategy is targeting the right communities and the right types of homes,” said TasCOSS CEO Kym Goodes. 

Shelter, LGAT, TasCOSS and the TICT are not seeking to stop Tasmanians from home sharing but rather ensuring the best policies and regulations are put in place to protect our state and complement the opportunity short stay provides.