Accommodation could be forced to close doors for half the year

CHANGES: It's guests to the Outback Cellar Dubbo like Maia, Caitlin, Andrew and Amelie Peake which may be turned away if the accommodation cap is reduced. Photo: ORLANDER RUMING

CHANGES: It's guests to the Outback Cellar Dubbo like Maia, Caitlin, Andrew and Amelie Peake which may be turned away if the accommodation cap is reduced. Photo: ORLANDER RUMING

New reforms in the accommodation sector could see businesses like Outback Cellar Dubbo only able to operate for 180 days per year.

Short-term holiday accommodation, which includes AirBnB properties, is currently unregulated in NSW. Under the new laws to be introduced in the coming months, councils outside of Sydney will have the power to impose rental caps.

However, they can be no fewer than 180 days per year.

Outback Cellar Dubbo owner Tracey McKenna said the majority of her guests stay for a weekend. At the most they stay for a week, she said.

Now Ms McKenna said her business was being disadvantaged because of “idiots” in Sydney.

“We’re victimised because of a few people doing the wrong thing. Not everyone is doing the wrong thing but they’re the ones who happen to speak out louder I suppose. We never get a pat on the back for doing the right thing all the time,” she said.

The business owner said she agreed there needed to regulations. There needed to be a way to ensure people renting out their houses or accommodation were declaring their income, Ms McKenna said.

However, she said the regulations needed to be structured in a way that ensured regional areas were not adversely affected.

“It’s an industry that doesn’t need to disappear, not at all,” she said.

“If you go away for a weekend do you want to stay in a motel with four walls and the trucks going up and down the highway or do you want to come to my place where it’s beautiful and quiet and you can go for a walk along the river? Nothing against motels in town, but we need to give people choice.”

Ms McKenna said she was running a business and didn’t need council to tell her how often she was able to open her doors.

Holiday rental company HomeAway – which operates Stayz – director corporate affairs Eacham Curry said he feared the new regulations would drive up the cost of accommodation.

“Short-term rental accommodation is not only an important driver of economic growth and jobs for Dubbo and the Central West, but it also adds crucial tourism accommodation capacity to the region,” he said.

“We will be working with local councils across the Central West region to ensure that short-term rental accommodation remains an important part of the tourism mix. To that end, we will be making the case to all local councils outside of Sydney that they grasp the opportunity of the sector and not set an arbitrary cap on short-term rental accommodation.”

As part of the changes, short-term accommodation providers will have to sign up to a code of conduct.