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CITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS

SURVEY OF CANDIDATES ON COMMERCIAL SHORT-STAYS

With the Melbourne City Council Election Campaign underway and to canvas the opinion of candidates on the issue of short-stays “we live here” sent a questionnaire to all 58 candidates for Lord Mayor and Councillor.

The questions asked were:

  1. Are you or anyone or entity associated with you engaged in commercial short-stay operations?
  2. If elected would you support amendments to the Melbourne Planning Scheme to insert the requirement for a Planning Permit to be obtained before apartments in residential buildings can be used for commercial short-stay operations, including those using Airbnb?
  3. Would you support the regulation of short-stay accommodation in residential buildings so owners corporations have a right to determine the use of their building and to create a level playing field for the accommodation industry?


The response rate to our survey was very good:

  • 11 of the 14 teams (85.7%) responded to the questionnaire; and
  • One of the three ungrouped candidates also responded.


A partial response (one of four candidates) was received from ‘The Light on the Hill’ and this team was excluded from the analysis. No response was received from ‘The Heritage Agenda, or ‘An Indigenous Voice for Council’.
 

SURVEY RESULTS

  • 10 of the 14 teams said No to Q1 and yes to Q2 & Q3
  • One team (Together Melbourne) said yes to Q1 and one team (Melburnian Voice) gave a qualified yes to Q1 because short-stays had infiltrated the building where they lived. Both teams said yes to Q2 & Q3.
  • One team (Animal Justice) said yes to Q1, was not sure how to answer question 2, but said yes to Q3
  • One team (Stephen Mayne: Transparency, Independence, Accountability, Experience) said No to Q1, Q2 and Q3.

 

TEAM RESPONSES


Team Doyle

“Team Doyle is very supportive of residents in residential towers who are affected by the unregulated short stay industry. Team Doyle would support a review into the best policy response for the short stay industry, including reviewing practices implemented in other cities around the world. Team Doyle would support a planning scheme amendment for commercial short stay to require a permit to operate in residential buildings.”


The Greens

“We absolutely commit to putting Council resources towards collaboration with the State Government to review the Victoria Planning Provisions and Building Code with a view to providing greater clarity and certainty around accommodation types. The state government must take responsibility for legislating for short-stay accommodation…..Also the burden of tackling issues that arise from short-stays should not be put on residents. There needs to be legislation that prevents problems, not just allows for a complaints mechanism.”


Strengthening Melbourne Team

“Yes we would support amendments to the Melbourne Planning scheme…..We believe the regulation of short term accommodation should be managed by legislation to protect the quiet amenity of residents. We don’t believe Owners Corporations are the appropriate vehicles to manage this issue.” 


Stephen Mayne: Transparency, Independence, Accountability, Experience
 

“No, believe the courts have spoken and we need to accept the sharing economy and regulate it, but not to the extent of requiring a permit for every operator. Too much red tape and we’d end up saying yes to the vast majority. Customer feedback to AirBNB also serves as a very effective regulator.”

“No, this would risk infringing on people’s property rights if a majority could dictate to a minority on the use of someone’s privately owned apartment. The sharing economy helps support Docklands businesses and we should not try to shut something down which increases utilisation of residential buildings and in turn add to the vibrancy of Docklands.”

 

CONCLUSIONS:

The “we live here” movement is delighted with the response to the questionnaire and we would like to thank all candidates who took the time to participate.

We were also very gratified to see the level of support shown for two of the major aims of “we live here” which are:

  • to see amendments to the Melbourne Planning Scheme to require Planning Permits to be obtained before apartments in residential buildings can be used for commercial short-stay operations, and
  • to support regulation of the commercial short stay industry in residential buildings.


It was therefore surprising and disappointing to see that one team - Stephen Mayne’s Transparency, Independence, Accountability and Transparency Team did not share those views. On the requirement for planning permit for commercial operators the team confused regulating commercial short-stay operators with regulating the sharing economy. On the regulation of commercial short-stay accommodation in residential buildings the Stephen Mayne team also confused commercial short-stay operators with the sharing economy.


“we live here”
would like to ask Stephen Mayne’s team

  • Where is the supporting evidence to justify your claims?
  • Why are you out of step with all other candidates on this issue?
  • Why shouldn’t there be a level playing field between residents and the commercial short-stay accommodation industry?
  • Have you understood or read our short-stay policy which differentiates between commercial short-stay operators and the sharing-economy use of platforms such as Airbnb?


In summary, all candidates who responded, apart from the Stephen Mayne team, have shown a positive level of support for the “we live here” policies on regulating commercial short-stay operators. This is great news for apartment owners and residents.

We ask that you think carefully before casting your votes to ensure that we have a Council truly committed to working for all who live and work in this city.

 

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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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