The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA), a non-partisan advocacy body representing the interests of Australian taxpayers, today launched a new grassroots campaign against the NSW government’s proposals to overregulate Short-Term Home Lending (STHL).
The government’s new options paper features a slew of punitive proposals including bans on lending spare rooms or homes, new taxes, zoning law restrictions and a new licensing bureaucracy. “These measures will hurt holidaying families, cost jobs and damage an innovative industry while decimating our state’s visitor economy by driving tourists elsewhere threatening Sydney as Australia’s tourist capital” argued Satyajeet Marar, Director of Policy at the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance.
“Banning or restricting what a family can do with their own home will only take money from working mums and dads while sending it overseas to multibillion dollar multinational hotel chains. “STHL and holiday home rentals have a longstanding history in Australia since the 1900s and innovative online platforms have simply made the process more efficient and transparent. It has allowed Australian families to supplement their household income while attracting tourists from all over the world to New South Wales, creating 40,823 Full-time Aussie jobs.
The regional economy accounts for half of these and is an area where accommodation options are limited. Heavy-handed proposals put these jobs and tourism-dependent regional areas at serious risk. “Home lenders already pay income tax on their STHL earnings and innovative platforms driving the sharing economy only make this more transparent. If the Australian government is concerned about tax neutrality and fairness, it should be encouraging innovation and reducing regulatory burdens and taxes that have made traditional accommodation options less competitive. “
When Berlin, Germany imposed similar restrictions on STHL, it lead to a sharp drop in available STHL accommodation, a reduction in income tax revenue for the government and a significant increase in prices of available accommodation – taking money out of visitor’s pockets which could be spent on local businesses. “Conciliatory measures such as an industry code of conduct or empowering communities to regulate STHL through strata by-laws will address valid community concerns without dangerously undermining this critical part of the sharing economy. “
At a time when the people of NSW are struggling to make ends meet, we cannot afford more red tape or draconian fees and taxes on families trying to take a break. We urge Australians to contact their elected representatives to let them know that NSW should be fostering innovation and tourism – not punishing holidaymakers and undermining consumer choice. A form for contacting your state MP is available on our website: http://www.taxpayers.org.au/stop_the_war_on_holidays
Marija Polic is a Research Associate at the Australian Taxpayers' Alliance