Tourism Accommodation Australia Recommend ‘Home-Sharing’ Register

Unregulated, or misunderstood?

Unregulated, or misunderstood?

Right now, as you read this article, millions of people are using the popular site ‘Airbnb’ to secure accommodation. The explosive rise in the number of users has led many within the traditional accommodation industry to complain about the lack of oversight and registration levied upon those renting out their spaces in Australia.

As with ride-sharing (taxi) company Uber, the presence of a new, internet-based player has disrupted the traditional business model associated with the service. According to Tourism Accommodation Australia, the issue exposes guests and owners to a host of unintended consequences. As such, many within the industry are calling for ‘Airbnb’ owners to be registered.

Martin Ferguson, the former federal tourism minister under Labor, says that registration should be essential for those using a ‘home-sharing’ service. According to the former government insider, there are many health, taxation and regulatory requirements that have yet to be satisfied by many Airbnb owners. He recommends a national register for these kinds of premises, so that there can be some oversight of the service provided.

“We are not against the ‘sharing’ economy, but we are opposed to the ‘taking’ economy, where unregulated commercial short-term accommodation providers take lots of money without meeting their obligations to guests, the community and the wider economy,” Mr. Ferguson told the Australian Financial Review.

“If there is rampant growth of illegal short-stay commercial accommodation, it will significantly reduce the likelihood of investment in tourist accommodation, which has the potential to be one of the most sustainable generators of future employment in Australia.”

A spokesman for the high-flying tech company stated that its operators were “encouraged to familiarise themselves with locally set regulations, which differed from council to council and even street to street, all over the world”. The somewhat implausible defence continued. “These laws can be confusing and we’re working with policymakers around the world on clear, progressive and fair laws that allow for home-sharing,” the spokesman offered.

For now, it seems home-sharing is here to stay.

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