Response to report on hold

Warren HatelyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Pictures of WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti at Dumas House in Perth.
Photo Ross Swanborough. 301120
Camera IconPictures of WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti at Dumas House in Perth. Photo Ross Swanborough. 301120 Credit: The West Australian

Accommodation providers are fuming at news a promised response to difficulties faced across the short-stay sector is now on hold until after the March WA election.

It is more than a year since the WA Parliament’s Economics and Industry Standing Committee’s final report was released, addressing an increase in complaints about unregistered Airbnb-style holiday homes dodging local government regulations and requirements.

The report said Airbnb landlords would need to pay a registration fee, and property owners within strata schemes could be prevented from being rented out for short-term gain.

The Levelling the Playing Field report also recommended that the WA Government establish an inter-departmental working group and form a Statewide registration scheme including centralised costs and individual tracking numbers.

The move would put the onus back on the State Government to enforce industry-wide standards, manage fines and complaints, and liaise with local governments.

But Planning Minister Rita Saffioti this week confirmed the Government’s implementation plan would not see daylight until later next year.

“I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to have a say and put forward their ideas when the position statement is released for public comment in 2021,” she said.

Registered Accommodation Providers Margaret River Region spokeswoman Debbie Noonan was livid about the slow pace of action.

“RAPMRR are very disappointed to hear this news and believe it has been a waste of taxpayers’ money to hold an inquiry and then not act on the findings,” Ms Noonan said.

“Many of the issues highlighted through the inquiry are now becoming major problems, not only in Perth, but across the regional tourism towns, with a chronic shortage of long-term rentals making it impossible for families and couples to find accommodation when coming to our region for work.”

Ms Saffioti said the Government was “delivering on our commitment to adopt many of the recommendations” from the report, which involved multiple agencies and further consultation with industry.

The WA Planning Commission was developing a draft position statement, she said.

“The accommodation sector in WA is undergoing a unique and exceptionally busy period at the moment,” Ms Saffioti said.

“We did not want to rush through any changes and potentially put additional pressure on the sector.”

Ms Noonan said the AMR shire had seen a 130 per cent increase in short-stay approvals this year.

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