SW to be given voice in short-stay issues probe

Taelor PeluseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Debbie Noonan and Peter Noonan, owners of the Margaret River Guest House. Mrs Noonan founded the Registered Accommodation Providers of the Margaret River Region.
Camera IconDebbie Noonan and Peter Noonan, owners of the Margaret River Guest House. Mrs Noonan founded the Registered Accommodation Providers of the Margaret River Region. Credit: The West Australian

The Capes region will soon host a Parliamentary inquiry into the short-stay sector, amid ongoing fears Airbnb and similar platforms are cutting into the region’s economy.

Swan Hills MLA Jessica Shaw, chairwoman of the committee overseeing the probe, told the Times the committee would travel south in April, or even as soon as March, with the specific date and location to be settled soon.

Margaret River has been earmarked to host the sitting, offering a central location for affected operators after the City of Busselton called for a local hearing.

“We appreciate that there does seem to be a hotspot down there … from Bunbury south, right the way through — we’ve even had submissions from people in the Great Southern region,” Ms Shaw said.

“We want to hear a variety of views and it’s important the committee ensures the people of the South West are given a voice and are heard in this process.”

Registered Accommodation Providers Margaret River Region was formed to combat the flood of unregistered holiday homes, and spokesman Robert McDonald said the group would welcome the chance to make a presentation to the committee.

“Obviously written submissions are closed now, but we would encourage people to make presentations where possible,” he said.

Committee member and Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman has been gunning for a regional sitting and was a key factor in triggering the inquiry, which began in November and is due to wind up mid-2019.

In its submission, the City of Busselton specifically requested that the committee visit.

“The experiences and issues here are different to those in Perth, and it is important that the committee get a good understanding of those differences,” City planning and development services director Paul Needham told the Times.

While Busselton City Mayor Grant Henley said Dunsborough and Busselton had been more heavily affected, “we won’t split hairs”, he said.

“We’re pleased that they’ve decided to have a regional briefing in the area,” he said.

“This is quite obviously the most heavily impacted area in the State.”

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