|Jan Barham MP|
A parliamentary inquiry into the value and impacts of tourism for local across NSW is welcome and long overdue, says Jan Barham, Greens MP and spokesperson on Tourism.
"I have long believed that a thorough tourism inquiry is necessary to develop a clear understanding about the benefits and impacts of tourism across the state. This Parliamentary inquiry will provide communities, councils and businesses with the opportunity to present their views and ideas about how to ensure a sustainable and successful future for tourism in NSW," Ms Barham said.
"Many regional communities look to tourism as an economic and employment opportunity, but sometimes aren't aware of the investment in infrastructure and the potential impact on residents, such as holiday letting and van camping in residential areas."
The inquiry, to be conducted by a standing committee of the NSW Upper House, was approved on Thursday and its terms of reference include investigating and reporting on:
(a) the value of tourism to New South Wales communities and the return on investment of government grants and funds,
(b) the value of tourism to regional, rural and coastal communities,
(c) the impacts of tourism on Local Government Areas, including:
(i) infrastructure services provision and asset management,
(ii) social impacts,
(iii) unregulated tourism, and
(iv) employment opportunities,
(d) the marketing and regulation of tourism, and
(e) the utilisation of special rate variations to support local tourism initiatives.
Date: Fri, 3 May 2013
Holiday let decision good for housing availability and local communities
Greens MP and spokesperson for Tourism and Housing, Jan Barham, has welcomed the Land and Environment Court decision on holiday letting of a residential-zoned dwelling in Terrigal.
"The Court's clarification that homes in residential zones that were intended for long-term occupancy are inappropriate for tourism purposes is an important outcome for local communities. In coastal areas especially, the use of homes for short-term tourism rentals has seen many potential homes lost to permanent residents, causing a shortage in housing supply. The last two Census reports have shown that Byron Bay, where many homes have been given over to holiday lets, has lost permanent residents, and this has seen an erosion of community spirit," Ms Barham said.
"In terms of tourism use, holiday letting has not served the community well. It has operated as an unapproved use that hasn't contributed financially to council to offset the pressures of tourism. In an area already under housing stress such as Byron Bay, it has diminished the available rental stock for locals and has meant that essential workers such as teachers, nurses and tradespeople have not been able to find affordable housing."
"The use of residential-zoned dwellings for tourism purposes has also had a major impact on housing prices, as buyers were lured into higher purchase prices on the expectation of high rental returns. During the peak tourism and event periods such as Schoolies, rents of $5,000 per week have not been uncommon. But often the homes sit vacant for long periods and the loss of neighbours and a sense of community has been devastating. During times of peak short-term rental, the impacts can be unbearable as noise and antisocial behaviour have often forced people to move when amenity is lost."
"For over a decade this issue has been a problem in Byron Bay and it has escalated across other coastal communities. As well as the unplanned impacts on locals, there have been risks for tourists due to the lack of appropriate planning conditions, such as for fire and structural safety."
"Local government faces a difficult task in addressing housing availability and affordability. This decision clarifies the use of approved residential dwellings for permanent residents, which should free up dwellings to ease the housing stress and ensure that tourism occurs in appropriate areas," Ms Barham said.