24 Aug 2018 | Source: My Weekly Preview
The Sunshine Coast Council has made provisions for a new annual fee to ensure residents letting out their homes to holiday makers contribute to the region’s tourism expenses.
Residents who use websites like Airbnb and Stayz to provide short-term accommodation will start receiving information about an additional annual fee with their next rates notice.
The fee will start at $387 and will increase based on land valuations.
Mayor Mark Jamieson says this is to ensure residents who are offering the estimated 14,000 properties for lease online and are benefitting from an increase in tourism were also making a contribution to the industry.
At present, commercial operators largely pay for funding tourism promotion to attract more visitors to the region.
He said commercial operators had largely carried the burden of funding tourism promotion.
Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer says the message on the next rates notices will encourage residents to disclose their housing use to the council.
Cr Dwyer says Airbnb has said it will work with the council to make sure that there is a system in place and it is fair.
“Stayz have said that we should be keeping our nose out of it and people should be allowed to make a buck,” Cr Dwyer says.
“I don’t mind people making a buck, if they want to do it, they have got to be part of a fair and equitable way forward.”
In an effort to locate the properties, Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington has called for legislation to force providers such as Airbnb to divulge the names and addresses of short-term accommodation hosts.
"We're seeking the Local Government Association of Queensland to have a conversation with the State Government to determine if it would be appropriate for the State Government to introduce legislation that forces these services to divulge addresses," he said.
"That way we can actually find out how many there are and where they are."
The head of Airbnb's public policy ANZ, Brent Thomas, said the company worked with officials to identify the specific types of data they needed to support planning decisions while protecting the privacy of hosts and guests.
"We protect very carefully the private information of our hosts," he said.
"We'll certainly share some data with councils but we protect the specific private information of our hosts."