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We would like to thank all our supporters who attended the forum at parliament house on Wednesday evening.

2 September, 2016

Labor Bill a “cop-out” says Shadow Planning Minister

At a high-powered function in the State Parliament’s Federation Room on Wednesday night, attended by 80 supporters of the “we live here” Movement representing 140 metropolitan Owners Corporations, MPs from both the Liberal Party and the Greens pledged to do more for Owners Corporations suffering from the effects of rampant commercialised short-stay letting.

The Supporters Forum, moderated by keynote speaker and prominent barrister, Timothy Margetts QC, provided an opportunity for analysis and debate following a Supreme Court decision in July which determined that Owners Corporations had insufficient powers to enforce Rules designed to regulate short-term letting activities within its building.

Independently of the Supreme Court decision, the State Labor government announced a Bill to amend the Owners Corporation Act 2006 to establish a complaints register for unruly short-term stay guests and to provide a limited opportunity for Owners Corporation to bring nuisance claims in VCAT.

Hon David Davis (Liberal MP, Member for Southern Metropolitan Region and Shadow Minister for Planning) and Hon Russell Northe (Liberal MP, Member for Morwell and Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs) addressed the meeting.

Hon David Davis provided the highlight of the evening, announcing:

“a commitment that by the next election campaign, the Liberal Party will be announcing very clear policy in this area, and some announcements about how we can seek to fix a number of [short-stay] issues”.

Similarly, Ms Ellen Sandell MP, Greens Member for Melbourne, spoke out about the need for reform in this area. “I have listened to residents in my electorate for years raising this issue time and again,” Ms Sandell said,

“The current Bill proposed by the government does nothing to address the real issues. The government doesn’t want to deal with the real issues, and it doesn’t understand the real issues.”

Notably absent from the forum was any representative of the State Government. Hon Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning sent an apology. Invitations to the Consumer Affairs Minister went unanswered, much to the frustration of the organisers of the event who have actively been trying to consult with the State Government for several months. Other speakers addressing the meeting included Cr Rohan Leppert, City of Melbourne and Dr Jeanette Corcoran, a social economist specialising in apartment living.

All of the speakers denounced and criticised the Labor Government’s current approach, with Hon David Davis labelling Labor’s Bill a “cop-out” and commenting that “the proposed Bill needs further examination given that Labor has dropped the ball.” He also expressed his concern on the widely-held view that the Government’s proposed legislation “would not help even one in a thousand people.”

Supporters were urged by Ellen Sandell MP to continue lobbying the local Members in both the upper and lower houses to ensure the politicians know loud and clear that residents in high-rise would not accept the Government’s proposed Bill.

Barbara Francis, Chairperson of the Watergate Owners Corporation and a director of the “we live here” advocacy group said,

“Reform is needed to regulate the unregulated short-stay accommodation industry, which does not pay its fair share of repairs and maintenance, and which cares nothing for the owners and residents that live in the buildings where it operates its businesses. We call on the government to listen to owners and residents, and to change the laws before it is too late. “

“At last the State Government has now been provided with definitive guidance by the Supreme Court about what it needs to do in order to protect owners, residents as well as the Hotel industry.”


On 24 May 2016, the Andrews Government released draft legislation to effectively permit the proliferation of short-term accommodation throughout apartment buildings. The draft legislation has been widely condemned by lobby groups, lawyers and industry insiders as introducing no more than ‘light-touch’ enforcement measures against poorly-behaved guests, rather than introducing measures to regulate the short-stay accommodation industry.

Jane Garrett, the former Minister for Consumer Affairs was criticised for working directly with Airbnb executives on the draft legislation and ignoring the pleas from the community for tougher regulatory measures, and came after the State Premier Daniel Andrews recently visited Airbnb’s headquarters on a recent trip to San Francisco to announce a partnership agreement between Melbourne and Airbnb.

The YouTube video broadcast of the speakers at the event can be found via this link:



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About We Live Here


We Live Here is a recently launched advocacy and lobby movement focussing on generating legislative change to protect owners and long-term residents living in high-density areas. The movement aims to give a voice to and protect the rights of these owners and long term residents, and to tackle issues that are not being adequately addressed.

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