NEWSPORT DAILY-No Vacancy slams door on job opportunities
“Council has spoken to representatives of Queensland’s top local government body about finding ways to address issues around short-stay properties in residential areas.
“We have been keeping an eye on recent efforts in areas such as Noosa and will monitor developments in Brisbane.
“While this is a great initiative that is creating conversation around this topic, I don’t believe this is the answer. In my personal opinion, changes to state law that address how and where these properties can be is the best option.
“Douglas Shire has a small population but needs infrastructure that caters to a large influx of tourists each year.”
Peak’s body says the plan isn’t proactive
Queensland Property Institute chief executive Antonia Mercorella said the top body had “long supported” incentives to encourage landlords to put their properties back on the long-term rental market.
She added that the state’s rent crisis is extremely complex.
“The state’s rent crisis is a large and complex issue and state and local governments should spend more time investigating why landlords are moving to the short-term market,” Mercorella said.
“Given tourism demand, we have to recognize that the vacation rental market can be incredibly lucrative with a high return over a short period of time and allows owners to use the property themselves, but the other key factor is that the short- to long-term market is not regulated by the strict and onerous laws that govern the long-term rental market.
Months later and still no relief for accommodation seekers
Newssport reported earlier this year that the problem had become a scourge across Port Douglas, as tourism and hospitality jobs begged amid a lingering housing and accommodation crisis that is seeing the rental vacancy rate of Port Douglas – 0.4% – among the highest in the state.
Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree have also launched the ‘Adopt a Worker’ campaign as an out-of-the-box initiative, but workers are still struggling to find accommodation. Tara Bennett, CEO of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree, said an ongoing survey was being distributed to gather information to make decisions about accommodation and working travelers in the future.
“The feedback on Adopt A Worker has been overwhelmingly positive, with people and businesses signing up with us, matches being made as well as an increase in people organically offering rooms on social media,” Ms. Bennett.
“The campaign has sparked interest from the Queensland Government, Austrade and other councils facing a similar issue. With backpacker accommodation and campsites close to capacity, we would like to see more people consider going imply.
The mayor responded to the worsening problem.
“The council is aware that, as in most Australians, housing availability is an issue,” Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said. Newssport.
“We highly welcome a balanced approach to accommodation that meets the needs of long-term residents, seasonal workers and visitors wanting to experience our beautiful Far North Queensland.
“I’ve been advocating for Airbnb owners to do this and look at the long-term benefits of guest satisfaction, rather than (the) quick revenue that won’t continue if service levels aren’t there to invite guests. visitors to return.”
Workers remain negative on accommodation options
It only takes one look on social media to see the local and international workers’ perspective on the Council’s action as well as the action on this short-term accommodation.
The comments were negative but summed up the thoughts of the majority.
“There are a decent number of landlords who have done this but as of yesterday there were 780 properties listed in the area on Airbnb. And only 2 properties for rent on realestate.com.au,” a local said.
“Too many Airbnbs here in Port. It used to be long-term rentals but landlords have now become greedy and hope to make more money – they should be capped in a city like Port Douglas,” said another.
A backpacker commented Newssport.
“The four rentals I’ve lived in in Port Douglas are now either Airbnb or an escape home. I now live in Julatten and work there – the same can be said for many people I know. Many long-time workers have had to leave the area because they cannot find accommodation. Many factors contribute to the staffing problem, but this is by far the main source of the problem.
“For a working economy we need to have long-term rentals available for workers – hopefully an increase in rates will encourage more people to have tenants rather than tourists. There needs to be a balance between tourists and tenants for a healthy economy.”
As the housing shortage continues, running into a surplus of jobs for international travelers willing to take it on.
A petition has been started by a local calling on the state government to take action and enact legislation that would allow local councils to ban short-term rentals in residential areas.
The petition reads as follows.
“A large number of residential properties that have never traditionally been used for short-term accommodation have been taken out of the mainstream rental market.
“Without enough staff, most bars and restaurants are trading at significantly reduced capacity, hampering the covid recovery effort – they can’t make hay while the sun is shining!”
Hope remains strong that the Douglas Shire Council will follow the example of other districts, otherwise the problem will only further cripple areas like ours.