State backs MP proposals on short-stay registration

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Rapids Landing, Margaret River.
Camera IconRapids Landing, Margaret River.

The WA Government says it will back “nearly all” the recommendations from a parliamentary inquiry into the short-stay sector, which includes a Statewide registration platform.

The inquiry found short-term rentals were a popular and genuine source of income, but lack of regulation was leading to “adverse impacts” on neighbourhoods.

This comes after a sustained campaign by the Registered Accommodation Providers Margaret River Region, which argued online platforms such as Airbnb were undermining the traditional sector, with unregistered operators dodging fees and planning controls.

A key recommendation was the adoption of a “flexible, low-cost and simple registration scheme for all short-term accommodation providers across the State”.

An inter-agency working group would include local governments and accommodation providers to develop the WA registry.

“We acknowledge the value that the community places on having access to short-term rentals and the contribution this sector is making to our economy through emerging service industries and new jobs, but we must also make sure there are appropriate protocols in place to ensure sustainability and support our traditional accommodation providers,” Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said.

“This is a complex issue and we acknowledge that local governments across the State have had good and bad experiences in this sector — and that they will have specific requirements that need to be considered moving forward.”

Ms Saffioti said online bookings were also part of tourism growth.

“It is important that we support this valued and emerging part of our tourism industry and that we develop the appropriate governance to ensure visitors to WA have a choice of accommodation options now and into the future,” Ms Saffioti said.

“Any registration scheme for short-term rental accommodation will ensure that guests know that they are protected and will be supported by a public education campaign for owners, property managers and purchasers.”

Other actions included planning changes for hosted accommodation, laws to require display of registration numbers for short-term rentals online, updated strata title laws, and an education campaign.

RAPMRR spokeswoman Debbie Noonan welcomed the announcement, especially on registrations.

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