Does the NSW coalition government support holiday letting in residential areas or not?
It’s a question NSW Greens MP and former Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham says she has been waiting three years for an answer on, and on August 12 she got one from tourism MP George Souris (Nationals).
Well, sort of.
In a recent general pur- pose standing committee held in parliament, Mr Souris was asked whether he supported ‘legitimate tourism operators’ or those ‘who op- erate without approvals, safe- ty provisions for visitors and without paying their way to local government.’
Mr Souris replied to Ms Barham after some stalling that ‘Holiday letting in NSW is essentially a local government issue,’ and referred to the recently introduced holiday rental code of conduct, introduced by the industry with help from NSW department of Trade and Investment and Destination NSW.
He claims councils have at their disposal a range of regulatory mechanisms to deal with matters such as noise pollution issues.
‘These can usually be ad- dressed by existing regulation; for example, under the protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, councils and communities are encouraged to utilise these mechanisms as appropriate.’
But MP Paul Green from the Christian Democratic Party made the point during Mr Souris’s questioning that ‘Local government is an arm of the state government, as we well know, so obviously its master should be watch- ing over it to ensure that it is able to enact or empower those regulations that the state makes.’
It should be noted that the general purpose stand- ing committee transcript is an uncorrected proof.
Dept of planning replies on HL
As for the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure position, a spokes- person told The Echo the department ‘worked with industry and other government departments to develop a self-regulatory code of con- duct for use by owners, man- agers, guests and visitors of holiday let properties.’
‘The department is continuing to work with councils and industry on this is- sue and has recently attended meetings with industry representatives and concerned residents of Byron Bay.’