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Short-stay accommodation inquiry recommendations miss the mark

If the State Government adopts key recommendations of the Economics and Industry Standing Committee’s Inquiry into Short-Stay Accommodation, it risks creating onerous and unnecessary regulation for Western Australian short-stay accommodation providers that is out of step with the other states.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA’s (CCI) submission to the inquiry recommended that the State Government develops a state-wide framework that clearly accounts for online short-stay providers and aligns regulatory approaches across local government areas.

The Inquiry’s recommendation for each local government to be allowed full discretion to impose additional licencing and operational requirements as well as caps on short-stay accommodation, increases the risk of inconsistent regulation, additional compliance and enforcement costs and heightened uncertainty for short-stay hosts that they are meeting their regulatory requirements.

Similarly, the Inquiry’s recommendation that the State Government establishes a state-wide registration scheme will impose additional costs on hosts to comply and for the Government to monitor and enforce. No other state currently has an operating registration scheme, which if implemented by the WA Government, will put our tourism industry and its operators at a competitive disadvantage.

We believe any regulatory framework should be underpinned by industry self-assessment and monitored and enforced by the online platform.

Leisure travellers are price sensitive – 88 per cent of respondents to a recent Haaga-Helia University survey stated that price was a key factor when they chose their travel destination. As online platforms are subject to higher levels of regulation, accommodation becomes relatively more expensive and prospective travellers choose to either travel to another destination or not travel at all.

Going it alone on regulating online short-stay providers would put WA’s tourism industry at a competitive disadvantage.

CCI urges the State Government to implement a consistent state-wide framework across all local government areas that ensures hosts can easily comply with planning policies without being burdened with unnecessary and inconsistent regulation.

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