Moratorium on short-stay accommodation properties in Tasmania rejected

A motion to place a moratorium on new listings for whole homes listed on short-term visitor accommodation websites has been scuttled by last-minute amendments from the Liberals.

The Greens moved for the moratorium, albeit with minor amendments from Labor.

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said a moratorium would give Housing Minister Roger Jaensch “breathing space” to get the policy settings right for housing availability and affordability.

She said the government should be less worried with investor rights and more worried about getting families into homes.

Speaker Sue Hickey for the second time on Wednesday used her casting vote to reject a motion from the opposing parties, in favour on an amended motion from her own.

Giving no prior notice to Labor and the Greens, Mr Jaensch moved that the government would secure data-sharing agreements with Airbnb and Stayz to create an evidence base to inform future housing policy initiatives.

He said the government would also work with local government and housing bodies so the public better understood regulations concerning the sharing economy.

Mr Jaensch said the government would work with councils on visitor accommodation regulations, which could include increased penalties for non-compliance.

He said the government would commit to the delivery of 900 new homes by the end of June 2019.

The government’s motion was prompted by demands from key state bodies earlier in the day who had called on the state government to release data on listed properties by the end of the month.

TasCOSS chief executive Kym Goodes –  flanked by the state’s peak housing, local government, and tourism bodies – said the data would take the guesswork out of policy-making.

The government at the state’s housing summit in April committed to sharing data obtained from popular websites Stayz and Airbnb.

This information is expected to be used to gauge density of short-term accommodation properties in certain areas, show how long properties had been on the short-term housing market, and map where there had been a significant shift from the long-term rental market.

Ms Goodes said this would allow for understanding on where communities were most impacted and guide appropriate responses; whether that be remedial action or future action.

“In the absence of comprehensive data, every decision made is guess work,” Ms Goodes said.

“We need a robust evidence base underlying policy and resourcing responses and time has run out on waiting for it.”

Local Government Association of Tasmania chief executive Katrena Stephenson said there was widespread non-compliance with council planning permit requirements and the published data would ensure illegal operations were found out.