Our pressure on Labor to regulate short-stays and address the housing crisis is working

Our pressure on Labor to regulate short-stays and address the housing crisis is working
Ellen Sandell

Docklands is a great place to live. But residents are rightfully frustrated by the lack of affordable housing and the ever-increasing amount of short-stay accommodation.

In recent months, the Greens have been ramping up pressure on the State government to take urgent action to address the worsening housing crisis. With so many short stay properties sitting empty for most of the year, we need urgent action to get more homes into the long-term market so they can be rented to families who need them. 

That’s why I’m proud to share that, following negotiations with my Greens colleagues and I in Parliament, the Treasurer has announced a new task force will be established to investigate solutions to the housing crisis.

The taskforce will consider three important issues that the Greens put on the table:

Rent controls such as a cap on rent increases;

Regulation of the short-stay industry, like Airbnbs; and

Strengthening Victoria’s vacancy tax, to make more empty homes available for renters or first home-buyers.

I first raised the issue of short-stays in Parliament all the way back in 2014, and in May my Greens colleagues and I tried to introduce a bill to Parliament to regulate short-stay accommodation. Disappointingly, the Victorian Labor Government would not support the bill.

The Greens plan to regulate short-stays would introduce a 90-day cap on how many nights per year a property can be rented out along with new rules to allow owners’ corporations to regulate short-stays in their building. These are sensible measures that mean you can still rent out a room or rent out your home when you go on holiday but would prevent investors from buying up whole apartments just to make mega profits and never renting them out long-term.

While the task force is a welcome announcement, it’s frustrating that when Labor had the chance to take action to address the issue of short-stays, they refused. And after nine years of campaigning, I know that the community is sick of waiting for meaningful reforms. 

Next month I’ll be joining my Greens colleague Gabrielle de Vietri and other elected representatives in Docklands to discuss these important issues and give you an update on what’s been happening in Parliament at a community forum organised by We Live Here. I would love to see you there. 

Join me at the community forum on short-stays, housing affordability and planning in Melbourne.

Date: Wednesday, July 19.

Time: 7pm 

Location: Library at the Dock. •

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