THE state government is considering a tax on short-term stays and Airbnbs, which are a dominant factor in the Mornington Peninsula holiday rental market and have been blamed for adding to the housing crisis.
State cabinet considered a new levy of up to 7.5 per cent on short-stay accommodation like Airbnb on Monday (18 September).
Committee for Frankston and Mornington Peninsula CEO Joshua Sinclair said the “significant funding” must be re-invested on the Mornington Peninsula.
“Our region will generate more than $10 million in revenue from a tax like this, and a significant portion of that should be spent on housing right here,” he said.
There were almost 5000 homes for rent on Airbnb along the Mornington Peninsula in February 2023, up from about 4000 last year, according to online data, but they are only booked for 52 days a year on average.
Council to Homeless Persons has also backed calls for the levy to be funnelled into public and community housing.
CEO Deborah Di Natale said Victoria was in the biggest housing crisis in recent memory and trails the nation on social housing.
The proposed new tax on short-term accommodation provided by companies like Airbnb is part of a bid to reform the housing market. Hotels are not expected to be included in the levy.
But Nepean MP and shadow minister for tourism Sam Groth has criticised the proposal, saying the tax would “punish Victorian holiday makers and regions”.
“This will make Victoria a less attractive destination for international and interstate visitors and threaten the $5 billion spent each year in Victoria alone on overnight accommodation,” he said.
The Chairman of the Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism Board, Roger Lancia, said “if there is to be tax on Airbnbs we hope that the money is allocated to the regions in which it is derived.”
“In our case the taxes are allocated to the benefit of the Mornington Peninsula region and our local Visitor Economy.”
In February, the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council called for Airbnb owners to open up properties for long-term rental, but the plea has largely fallen on deaf ears with few owners taking their properties off the holiday rental market.
The Mornington Peninsula has about 4000 people on the public housing waiting list and around 1000 sleeping rough every night.