Tasmania introduced new short stay accommodation legislation

Accommodation industry bodies hope the state government take a leaf out of Tasmania's book by introducing tougher controls to penalise unregistered accommodation providers and online booking platforms.

Earlier this year, Tasmania introduced its Short Stay Accommodation Act 2019 which included measures for online booking platforms to share their data with authorities.

The act introduced measures for short stay accommodation providers to display a permit number on their listing and established a data-sharing model with online booking platforms.

The model requires online booking platforms to provide government departments with quarterly data to ensure they are complying with requirements, also making it easier to enforce penalties for non-compliance.

The data will also provide the government with information to analyse the impacts of short stay accommodation on housing.

Registered Accommodation Providers Margaret River Region member Debbie Noonan said the Tasmanian Government's legislation was a significant step in the right direction to save the tourism industry in Australia.

"We have constantly said, all short term holiday lets should be registered and comply with local planning regulations," she said.

"We encourage our state government to act quickly when presented with the recommendations from the enquiry into short term holiday lets, which has recently been conducted here.

"We have also called for increased penalties for those properties and booking platforms that fail to comply.

"Tasmania has been held up as the "poster child" for Airbnb in this country, but they have realised the oversupply of short term holiday lets causes damage to the tourism industry and brings little benefit.

"Long term renters have been evicted in favour of holiday lets, rents have risen for remaining properties, and have become unaffordable for many people resulting in an increase in homelessness.

"There has also been negative effects on the wider community with tourism workers losing jobs and many Tasmanians annoyed at having pop-up hotels in their neighbourhoods."

Ms Noonan said the flow of online booking platforms had also hurt the economy because accommodation providers lost around 20 cents in the dollar to overseas fees and charges.

"As most of these properties are unhosted holiday homes, most of the remaining 80 cents in the dollar is syphoned off to wealthy property investors in other cities or countries," she said.

"It has been estimated that half a million dollars a day is being lost from the economy in the Margaret River region alone, so urgent action is needed here.

"As tourism and hospitality is the second largest employer in our region, a delay in making the changes needed is likely to cause a recession in the South-West."

Australia's peak accommodation industry body, Tourism Accommodation Australia endorsed Tasmania's legislative reforms to tackle unregulated short-stay accommodation.

TAA National chief executive officer Michael Johnson said the reforms showed the Tasmanian Government's understanding of the need to address unregulated short-stay accommodation.

"The new Tasmanian legislation is arguably the strongest reform we have seen in Australia to date," he said.

"It will implement a mandatory registration system which requires planning approval and for Airbnb to only market and sell permitted, registered and approved short-stay accommodation.

"In recent years, jurisdictions around the world have moved to strengthen regulations for short-stay accommodation providers and platforms such as Airbnb - finally we are seeing effective measures being adopted here in Australia.

"Tasmania has first-hand experience of how unregulated short-stay accommodation negatively impacts housing affordability, community amenity and undermines the licensed accommodation sector, so their reforms have been crafted with this experience in mind."

An inquiry into short stay accommodation in WA is currently underway with the Economics and Industry Standing Committee yet to hand down its recommendations to the state government.

The inquiry received almost 400 submissions with a large number coming from the South-West.