Saturday, January 19, 2019
Brent Thomas

Airbnb army to move against AHA

Airbnb will mobilise thousands of short-stay hosts in Western Australia to fight the Australian Hotels Association’s proposed regulations for the sector.

Last week the AHA’s state chief executive, Bradley Woods, released a plan to tackle what he labelled the “disease” of unregulated short stays across WA.

It was followed by the announcement of a state government inquiry into the short-stay industry, prompting Airbnb to warn it would fight “vested interests” over the restrictions. Airbnb has previously accused the AHA of operating under the influence of major hotel groups.

Mr Woods proposes limiting properties allowed to be listed on sharing platforms to a host’s primary residence and banning the listing of entire properties for stays of fewer than 14 days – a tougher approach than any legislation currently in place in NSW and Victoria.

Airbnb has vowed to email its WA hosts warning them the AHA wants “to ban holiday homes, burden hosts with extreme red tape including costly registration and ban stays less than 14 nights”.

Australian head of public policy Brent Thomas said the AHAWA “don’t care about people’s hip pockets, only their members big profits”.

Some WA operators have accused Airbnb of the same behaviour, with Debbie Noonan of the Registered Accommodation Providers of the Margaret River Region describing the US short-stay giant as a “corporate bully”.

“They have evolved into a bad corporate citizen that doesn’t employ Australians, doesn’t pay tax in Australia (they export all profits to Ireland, where the corporate tax rate is 12 percent), doesn’t collect GST and encourages tax avoidance from unregistered properties,” she told Accomnews.

WA planning minister Rita Saffioti says the parliamentary inquiry, supported by Labor and Liberal members, will aim for a bipartisan plan on the regulation of the industry.

It will look at issues such as customer safety, insurance, land use planning, building standards, stay length, neighbourhood amenity, registration, licensing and tax.

Both Airbnb and the AHA have welcomed the inquiry, despite very different expectations for its outcome.

About Kate Jackson

Kate Jackson
Kate Jackson is the editor of Accomnews. You can reach her at any time with questions or submissions: [email protected]

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One comment

  1. Airbnb is in for the long-hall, and it is time for all Hotel industry associations to combine their resources and follow the example of AHAWA. The stupid “hip pocket” comment by Brent Thomas shows where Airbnb’s leaning is i.e. “let’s bypass all regulatory and compliance requirements and tax implications, make the dollars because we invest nothing in infrastructure and add virtually nothing to the economy because what we are doing is shifting demand from an established base to a sharing base and that fulfills only one benefactor and that is Airbnb and pocket money for the Airbnb host”. The argument ends here, no economic benefit when nothing substantial is realized by shifting an existing economic source to another except hurting the one that is regulated, compliant, safe, and contributes to Government coffers as well as the economy. Airbnb needs to play ball and follow the rule of business law. The protection of end users must be emphasized by standards dictated by regulatory and compliant guidelines….NHI

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