Member for Warren-Blackwood, Terry Redman and the Nationals WA believe the State Government needs to take a leadership role in finding a workable solution regarding the use of online booking platforms by non-registered holiday home operators.
“I have had significant feedback on the issue of unregistered accommodation places, and claims that there is not a level playing field compared to commercial accommodation providers,” Mr Redman said.
“The issue is a complex one, with compliance for short stay accommodation being a challenging issue for Local Governments”.
The advent of online booking sites such as Airbnb means it is easy for owners to rent holiday homes, and for homeowners to rent out spare rooms. It is also easy for tourists, especially families or larger groups, to choose the style and price level of holiday accommodation.
This raises issues of insurance, quality, compliance with safety regulations, payment of appropriate rates, and contribution towards tourism marketing.
Commercial accommodation providers are vocal in their opinion that regulations are needed to govern accommodation standards, restrict location and the total number of providers in an area to ensure the industry is sustainable.
Mr Redman has given notice in Parliament, “that this house refers to the Economics and Industry Standing Committee an inquiry into the risks to consumers and operators of non-registered and non-compliant accommodation utilising online booking platforms such as Airbnb”.
“Airbnb is often cited as the problem, however my view is that Airbnb is only the booking platform, not the underlying issue,” Mr Redman said.
“Most accommodation facilities use Airbnb as one of their platforms for accommodation bookings. The issue is unregistered properties competing with registered accommodation providers, and not having to comply with the same regulations or contributing to the promotion of the region.”
Local Governments across Western Australian are in the difficult position of not having the resources to establish enforceable policies or to monitor advertised holiday accommodation.
“This is why I believe the State Government should hold a proper inquiry and develop useful guidelines or uniform approaches to the holiday accommodation industry, especially considering on-line booking platforms.