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Op-Ed: Recognising the true value of Short-Term Rental Accommodation

STRA and hotels are not competitors, argues Mitchell Price, CEO of ASTRA. Instead, they are complementary components of the broader accommodation ecosystem

As the only professional association representing Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) owners, ASTRA’s submission to the NSW Government’s review into short term rental accommodation focuses on safeguarding the rights of property owners and STRA operators.

Firstly, it is crucial to understand that ASTRA does not view hotels as competitors to short term rentals. Instead, we see both STRA and hotels as complementary components of the broader accommodation ecosystem.

This ecosystem caters to a diverse array of travellers, including those on leisure and business trips, individuals seeking medical treatment, and workers needing temporary housing in both urban and rural areas.

Our latest AccomNews print issue is available now. Read it HERE

Secondly, the notion that STRA significantly contributes to housing affordability and availability issues is unfounded. STRA constitutes only about 1 percent of the total housing stock in Australia.

Our sector does not detract from the housing supply; rather, it plays a vital role in providing necessary accommodation for transient workers, including those in construction, who are essential in building new housing across the nation.

The majority of STRA owners represented by ASTRA are everyday Australians—’Mums and Dads’, not international investment entities or hotel conglomerates.

ASTRA acknowledges the necessity for regulations and has proposed practical solutions to the NSW Government. Our members contribute significantly to government revenue through existing taxes and are committed to being integral parts of their communities.

One of our key proposals is the implementation of a 2 percent levy on all accommodation types, including hotels, motels, leisure parks, and STRA.

The revenue from this levy should be allocated as follows: one-third to affordable housing, one-third to regional tourism, and one-third to skills and training through the TAFE system.

Such an approach can only be realised through the elimination of nightly caps, ensuring that STRA properties can continue to provide essential accommodation for construction workers, agricultural labourers, families displaced by natural disasters, event attendees, medical support visitors, and domestic tourists.

ASTRA also advocates for enhancements to the government registration portal for STRA properties and the existing code of practice.

We propose individual certification of owners and property management companies to ensure compliance and equity across the industry, in line with the Property and Stock Agents Act 2002.

As the CEO of ASTRA, I am committed to ongoing collaboration with the NSW Government and Parliamentarians. Our aim is to ensure that regulations are fair and do not disproportionately impact STRA operators, who are predominantly local community members making substantial economic and social contributions.

A balanced, evidence-based understanding of the STRA sector’s role is essential in meeting the NSW Government’s housing objectives and supporting the visitor economy.

ASTRA stands ready to work towards a regulatory framework that acknowledges and maximises the positive impact of the short-term rental accommodation industry.

AdobeStock By Gorodenkoff

Case study

For one young couple from regional New South Wales from the south coast their baby came early, too early, it was touch and go. They lived an hour and a half from the hospital. Stuck at the hospital without family with nowhere to stay they were spending long hours at the hospital and looking for close by accommodation to be on call to the hospital.

An example here where an ASTRA member could provide a property just round the corner from the hospital. One of the benefits was bringing their dog with them. With all the facilities of home – including a full kitchen the family didn’t live off take-away and extra bedrooms meant other family could come and stay and support them.

Short-term rental accommodation offers all the conveniences of home wherever you. For this family they needed a laundry and a back yard for their pooch.

Our place has been like home for many people, like this family. It’s there for emergency situations and it’s a home away from home you know. For this family we gave them 60 percent off so they could afford to stay close by as their newborn gained strength and the family were able to take their baby home

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