Airbnb calls for changes to help Qld recovery
The Palaszczuk Government has been asked to make it easier for Queenslanders to rent out their homes to holiday-makers to help in the COVID recovery.
The idea to open up more parts of the state to intrastate tourists by expanding the short-term rental market has been floated by Airbnb as it calls for statewide regulation of the sector and an industry-wide code of conduct to protect neighbourhoods from party houses.
Airbnb's head of public policy for Australia, Derek Nolan, said the sector could help in Queensland's economic recovery now, particularly in regional Queensland.
It follows Airbnb guests spending more than $1.6 billion in Queensland last year and supporting thousands of jobs, according to Oxford Economics research commissioned by the company.
That included $105 million in Cairns, $324 million on the Sunshine Coast, $327 million in Brisbane, $33.5 million in Townsville and nearly $280 million on the Gold Coast.
"In the current environment, intrastate tourism will play a more pivotal role in Queensland's economy than ever before and will serve as a major lifeline for many regional communities," Mr Nolan said.
"This focus on intrastate travel means communities have to be able to accommodate affordable, longer-term stays for travellers and their families to help build more resilient local economies.
"The vast majority of local Airbnb hosts are everyday Queenslanders using their home to generate extra income to combat rising costs of living and pay down mortgages - who want to do the right thing by their community."
Under Airbnb's proposal, people would be able to rent out rooms with no additional planning permission or permits.
Those renting out non-primary dwellings, like a holiday house or apartment, would self-certify against a set of minimum statewide standards, policed by the state.
And a "three-strikes" code of conduct would protect against anti-social behaviour and allow the banning of all hosts and guests who egregiously violate the code.
Norman Park woman Helen Mays, who has been an Airbnb host for five years, has welcomed the proposals for change.
"It'd be better because there's a bit of confusion as to what the regulations are and I think it would keep people who have Airbnb's on the right path," she said.
"There'd be common expectations for people when they turn up and people who aren't doing the right thing with renting out their Airbnb's, it would keep them honest."
She said she would have no problem with being regulated by the State Government, as she already played by the rules and almost always had positive experiences with customers.
"99.9 per cent of people have been fantastic, Airbnb is really good to deal with."
Ms Mays, who hosted short-term rental accommodation at an apartment on her property, said hosts and guests should have to follow a code of conduct where the same rules applied to all.
"Three strikes and you're out would be a good idea and I think that applies to hosts as well, they've got to be accountable," she said.
Originally published as Airbnb calls for changes to help Qld recovery