The government of Australia’s biggest state, NSW, has embraced the sharing economy, announcing a framework for regulating the collaborative economy.
“Digital innovation is transforming the way people do business in every city and every country around the world,” said Victor Dominello, Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation.
“The reality is the collaborative economy is here to stay (and) it is vital that government policies embrace new technologies and enable businesses to operate with certainty.
It estimates the sharing economy contributed $504m to the NSW economy last year.
Sam McDonagh, country manager of Airbnb, hailed the decision as a victory for “the everyday people – mums and dads and working families – who list their homes on Airbnb”.
But hotel industry lobby groups such as the Tourism Accommodation Australia says commercial operators are increasingly using Airbnb and want the same rules to apply to everyone .
It says “the dramatic growth of unregulated short-term accommodation, fuelled by internet booking sites such as Airbnb, had seen the original concept of “room sharing” morph into a channel allowing commercial operators to rent out multiple properties without meeting many of the safety, insurance, taxation, body corporate, strata, council and State regulations imposed on other operators of commercial short-term accommodation”.
“Hotels, motels, serviced apartment, B&B and other legitimate short-term accommodation providers have a strict regulatory framework in place to protect their guests and ensure they operate fairly,” said TAA CEO Carol Giuseppi.
“In the past few months we have seen the results of the ‘no care, no responsibility’ attitude towards unregulated short-term accommodation with reports of assaults, property damage and a terrifying drug raid.
“The self-regulatory approach mentioned in the Paper will not provide the protections needed for guests or other property owners in apartment blocks and communities.