Share accommodation provider Airbnb has hit back at claims it has contributed to housing affordability issues in Tasmania.
Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy ANZ Brent Thomas said blaming Airbnb was “as absurd as blaming smashed avocados” and does not stack up.
“Housing affordability is a wickedly complex public policy problem, which of course predates Airbnb’s existence, and solving it isn’t made easier by groups scaremongering,” he said.
“Any mature and prudent debate would focus on the real drivers of affordability, things like negative gearing, the planning system and population.”
Mr Thomas said Airbnb was an economic lifeline for Tasmanians and helped people get by.
“The average host in Launceston earns $9,300 a year in income which we know helps pay the mortgage and bills.”
The company pointed to research conducted by the Tenants’ Union of NSW, which showed Airbnb listings across Sydney and in popular tourist spots, like Bondi and Manly, had no discernible effect on vacancy rates and that there was no link between the number of Airbnb listings and rises in rent.
Ben Bartl from the Tenants' Union of Tasmania said the impact of short-term accommodation providers on the Sydney market could not be compared against the impact in Tasmania.
“Sydney has had a long history of sustainable growth in its tourism market, meaning that hotel developments have been able to keep pace with increased tourism numbers,” he said.
“This can be contrasted with Tasmania, and in particular Hobart which has experienced a 30 per cent increase in visitor numbers over the last five years.”
Mr Bartl said the union wholeheartedly supported the report’s recommendation of a cap on short-term accommodation providers.
The tenants’ union, as well as Shelter Tasmania and Anglicare told The Examiner more research must be done to create reliable data showing the effect on Tasmania.