Podcast: Parliamentary panic behind short-term letting U-turn


This week our podcast is given over to an extended chat with NSW Independent MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich.

I’ve come across many politicians in this game. Most have been honest and decent (to a point) and a few have been self-interested and not so much corrupt as corrupted – mainly by party allegiance and personal ambition.

But it’s very rare to come across someone who is as clear-sighted, committed and empathic as Alex.

Locally, he’s known as the man who took over from Clover Moore when she was forced to chose between being Mayor of Sydney and the city’s MP in the NSW parliament.

That he won the by-election comfortably was no surprise but he then increased his majority at the next state election, despite having a chunk of traditionally Liberal voters grafted on to his constituency.

Nationally, he was the face of the same-sex marriage campaign while appearing on the SBS TV series Filthy Rich and Homeless. And as soon as the next state election campaign is done and dusted, he will take up cudgels for the voluntary euthanasia movement.

Will all that on his plate, as well as being an active constituency MP, we were very lucky to get an hour of his time to talk about the things that matter to us here at Flat Chat.

Why him?  Becasue his constituency has more high-rise apartments than any other in Australia. So this podcast is the first of two parts in which we discuss the strata issues of the day – Airbnb, cladding, defects  … and pets.

The highlight of the chat, for me, was his description of how a last-minute push by the Owners Corporation Network (and a few like-minded souls) alerted MPs in constituencies with large numbers of apartment blocks that they were about to be effectively handed over to Airbnb and other online letting agencies to be used for holiday lets, regardless of the devastating effects of strata communities.

His description of the corridors of Parliament full of MPs asking each other what was going on and the last minute U-Turn by our Planning and Better Regulation Ministers makes our latest Flat Chat Wrap podcast worth a listen in itself.


4 Replies to “Podcast: Parliamentary panic behind short-term letting U-turn”

  1. Millie says:

    At no time did anyone in Parliament or any Senior Public Servant disclosed that, about a month prior to the calling of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Adequacy of regulation of short-term rentals in NSW, the State Government entered into a commercial paternership with Expedia Inc, which owns Stayz/HomeAway etc.
    Destination NSW’s Acting CEO very recently wrote: “the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference did not require the disclosure of OTA partnership arrangements, including that with Expedia…”
    Destination NSW’s CEO subsequently wrote, in regards to the oversight of Federal/State/Local Government compiance issues with homes sold by them as tourist/visitor accommodation by the official branch of Government: “Destination NSW does not carry out regulatory functions, therefore the questions…regarding compliance with legislation, regulations and other activities provided by third parties (hey, such as Expedia/Airbnb/Booking.com et al) fall outside our remit and should be referred to the relevant organisation.”
    No wonder the Parliamentary Hearing Committee Members kept slapping Industry representatives on their backs in the Meeting Room at Parliament House plus kept repeating, repeating: “STRs are here to stay.”
    The NSW Goverment is up to its eye-balls in STRs. They’re probably the biggest facilitator of the unlawful use or residential dwellings across NSW.
    Anyone want to guess how many shacks and cabins etc, operated by National Parks NSW and most frequently advertised on Booking.com, are compliant with Federal Building/Disability legislation and Fire & Rescue criteria etc?

  2. Whoopi says:

    Alex Greenwich is the new generation of insightful open mined politicians we need more like him . Great interview.

  3. ginger28 says:

    Thank you for the podcast. As you will be aware there is an increasing number of older people living on their own. One way of ensuring their safety is to have a key safe outside their home for carers and loved ones to access. The key safe you saw in the public housing complex above Kings Cross station may very well be that and not someone taking advantage of the non existent ( just about) laws to contain Airbnb type set ups. Cheers.

  4. Jimmy-T says:

    This is now being discussed in the Flat Chat Forum

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