The chief of the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania has spoken out in support of regulating the sharing economy.
Luke Martin said the state government went “too far” in their deregulation of visitor accommodation.
“Our industry, communities and councils are only now coming to terms with the very little influence we now have over the nature and scale of visitor accommodation in our suburbs,” he said.
His comments were sparked by the push by Launceston Alderman Darren Alexander to have the council investigate accommodation regulation throughout the municipality.
“This debate gets caught up too much in the hotels perspective - it's not about hotels - it's about the hundreds of small accommodation operators who have established their businesses under a set of rules and frameworks, and essentially been deregulated overnight,” Mr Martin said.
“I think only now everyone is starting to appreciate what that means in terms of housing affordability, industry standards, community and council influence.”
Mr Martin said there was no distinction between a fully commercial self contained or hosted accommodation business and an Airbnb-style host.
“The problem is these established businesses have had established costs and expectations that can not simply be unwound. Insurances, fire permits, access requirements and so on,” he said.
“It's not about hotels, it's the 600 self contained and hosted accommodation small businesses across the state that have been completely screwed.”
Mr Martin said it was only a matter of time before more councils and councillors started following Ald Alexander’s lead and looked at ways to “rebalance the pendulum”.
“The government messed up their reforms by appeasing Airbnb and showing very little regard for either the established accommodation sectors or local government,” he said.
“Yes, Launceston needs beds, and investment is flowing. No one is ‘anti-AirBnB’, it's a great, affordable service, but the reforms we have now implemented to facilitate more Airbnb are the most radical anywhere in Australia, and i believe, were totally unnecessary and an overreaction.”