Embracing the sharing economy

Will Hodgman, Premier
Peter Gutwein, Minister for Planning and Local Government

3 February 2017

The Hodgman Government is acting to support continued growth in the tourism and hospitality sectors by embracing the sharing economy.

The Premier, Will Hodgman, said deregulating the sector would mean Tasmania's vital visitor economy is able to support continued growth by providing choice for consumers and clarity for businesses and homeowners.

Tasmania is experiencing unprecedented levels of demand for accommodation. A recent study found that the East Coast, for example, is experiencing incredibly high levels of demand with occupancy rates as high as 95 – 99 per cent between January and March last year.While a 2014 report showed that Tasmania needs an extra 1,200 rooms to meet the expected increase in demand.

That's why we are embracing the sharing economy, because it will help us meet demand and grow the tourism and hospitality sectors, which will in turn create jobs.

The Government's policy will mean homeowners will be able to rent out up to four rooms in their homes on platforms, such as Airbnb and Stayz, without being burdened by red tape.

Importantly, shack owners will be able to rent their properties to holiday-makers easily using our simple one step process.

We have worked with all stakeholders, listened to their concerns and developed a clear way forward. We believe this strikes the right balance and is in the community's interests.

This policy is part of our plan to grow our economy and create more jobs by backing our competitive strengths, such as our visitor economy which is booming with record tourist numbers coming here, and to cut the red tape which holds business back, the Premier said.

The Minister for Planning and Local Government, Peter Gutwein, said that the changes announced today will come into effect from 1 July this year and the Government will continue to work with all stakeholders to implement the new policy.

Shack or investment property owners will now be able to rent out their properties for short stays as long as they meet minimum safety standards, such as smoke alarms and functioning toilets, a standard which most properties already meet, he said.

It's only fair that a home owner can rent out a room in their house without having to ask the Government for permission. It's just common sense, if you can have a relative over to stay, why not someone else?

This is a difficult area, with many competing interests and we have worked cooperatively with all stakeholders to ensure that safety is not sacrificed for flexibility, while delivering a practical solution to a complex problem.

The Government will now set up a working group consisting of representatives from the TICT, the THA, the Local Government Association and representatives of the sharing economy to implement this policy and I look forward to working closely with each of the representatives ahead of the policy formally commencing on 1 July, he said.

The Minister and the Premier said that these changes will drive increased growth and create more job opportunities for Tasmanians.