Airbnb’s appearance at the WA Parliamentary inquiry into short stay accommodation has raised more questions about their operations in Western Australia and the negative impact it has on local jobs and affected communities.
Today Airbnb had an opportunity to come clean about the true nature of their operations in Western Australia however their appearance was characterised by slick PR and was light on substance.
Despite jurisdictions around the world adopting rules to manage short stay accommodation, Airbnb gave evidence that WA should disregard these precedents. Major international cities such as San Francisco (the birthplace of Airbnb), Berlin, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Paris, New York and Barcelona have adopted proper rules in response to the problems that unapproved short stay accommodation creates.
Airbnb also failed to address the extent to which the platform is being used by commercial operators with multiple properties being presented as ‘mum and dad’ home hosts.
Key questions that remain unanswered include;
· How many listings on Airbnb are commercial listings? (Hosts with multiple listings)
· How many listings on Airbnb are unregistered and not compliant with local government?
· How much payroll tax does Airbnb pay in WA?
· How many traineeships or apprenticeships has Airbnb sponsored in WA?
Australian Hotels Association (WA) CEO Bradley Woods said Airbnb is a booking site that lists short stay accommodation, the majority of which avoid the rules, regulations and taxes that approved accommodation providers are already meeting.
“The AHA has no issue with genuine, hosted home sharing however it is the commercial, un-approved listings we have a problem with,” Mr Woods said.
“There are too many jobs and Western Australian small businesses at risk for a platform like Airbnb to continue to deliberately sidestep the rules set for other accommodation providers.”