WARNING: A large Noosa crowd turned out for a forum concerned about short-stay rentals.
WARNING: A large Noosa crowd turned out for a forum concerned about short-stay rentals. Peter Gardiner

Airbnb property glut 'threatens Noosa community'

NOOSA is determined to avoid a one-sided Byron Bay short-term rental proliferation, where there are five Airbnb beds for every hotel, motel and resort type bed.

Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington said this represented a "staggering” 517 per cent of Airbnb beds as a proportion of traditional tourist sector beds.

The mayor told fellow councillors this week the Byron Shire Councill "was really struggling” with 17.6 per cent of its entire properties taken up with Airbnb, which amounted to 48.3 per cent of its local housing rental properties, excluding Stayz and other short-term rental platforms.

Cr Wellington said these figures came from the report commissioned by the Australian Coastal Councils Association, of which Noosa was a member.

To try and overcome this rental imbalance, the mayor said Noosa Council had commissioned a report on the short-term online rental market in Noosa, which should be tabled at the January round of meetings.

"It will cover what is happening in this space, as well as comparisons with other local governments and states,” Cr Wellington said.

Airbnb was contacted for comment but did not respond by deadline.

The mayor's comments came during debate on the council paying $1000 to join a new Australian Tourism Council Advocacy Group.

A southerm media report quoted Byron Mayor Simon Richardson as saying Airbnb was "gutting” his town.

He said every second home in one coastal strip was empty due to short-term rentals, which meant there were not enough locals to volunteer at the surf club.

Cr Wellington said when he went to the inaugural advocacy meeting in Sydney, Byron and Noosa (councils) were "somewhat separate to the rest of the councils who all wanted to massively increase the opportunities for tourism, whereas Byron and Noosa were dealing with managing their own success”.

"Byron has only since determined that it's going to follow Noosa and Tourism Noosa's approach and that is start to pitch its market at high yield tourists rather than just tourists generally,” the mayor said.

Noosa CEO Brett de Chastel said the council didn't know if this group was going to be effective.

"But for the investment, it's probably worth having a seat at the table to see where it goes.

"If it does that's great, if it doesn't we can pull out.”

Mr de Chastel said the meeting identified a range of issues that were typically being faced by local governments in high tourism areas including: Funding for public infrastructure, transport and short-term accommodation where different councils identified either not enough or too much short-term accommodation.

Mr de Chastel said other issues identified included the impacts of tourism on local communities, problems with camper vans and conflicts between residents and visitors in terms of amenity.


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