‘Airbnb is an issue’: PM says short-stay rental tax debate is ‘not surprising’

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says it is not surprising that states are considering taxing short-stay rentals on platforms such as Airbnb because of the pressure on housing supply.

Unveiling a new housing development that will be partly funded by the federal government’s $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator alongside Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Albanese was asked if he supported a tax on short-stay rental properties.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese held a press conference today at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne with the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews.Credit: Paul Jeffers

“Airbnb is an issue. In my electorate, it’s an issue because you have problems of accessing rentals for people … so I’m very conscious of the pressure that is placed on communities,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“So it’s not surprising that governments are having a look at this and I know that that is something that has been considered by anyone who actually looks at the housing issue with regard to housing supply.”

On Tuesday evening, Victorian government cabinet ministers will meet to finalise their housing statement. This masthead revealed last week that a plan to introduce a statewide levy on short-stay accommodation will go to cabinet this week.

“There’s between 30,000 and 40,000 homes that are being Airbnb-ed or [put on] other platforms,” Andrews told ABC Radio Melbourne on Monday.

“They’re not available for someone to lease, to rent, on a longer-term basis. That’s a real thing.”

Other state and territory governments have shown interest in similar levies on short-stay rentals, while some local councils such as Hobart City Council and Brisbane City Council have increased rates on short-term rental properties.

Airbnb has been contacted for comment.

The company has previously said it supports a tax on tourists – a levy that would be paid by all accommodation providers including hotels – which could bolster the coffers of local councils, after Randwick City Council in Sydney’s east considered lobbying the state government for a bed tax on short-stays.

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