Airbnb has responded enthusiastically to a statement by Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman, who said he wants Tasmania to be the first state in Australia to embrace the sharing economy rather than curtail it through heavy regulation.
Speaking at a business lunch in Hobart, Premier Will Hodgman said he would introduce legislation in the first half of next year to cover transport operations, including ride-sharing enterprise Uber.
The so-called “sharing economy” is controversial, opposed by many hoteliers and taxi drivers, who accuse such operations of taking customers while avoiding essential overheads like licensing, insurance and safety compliance costs.
Hodgman, however, said embracing the sharing economy would deliver benefits to the state.
“We are prepared to take a lead on the national stage to be the first state to embrace the sharing economy. We believe it is consumers that should decide what’s best for them, not the government.
“It’s allowing people choices to how we travel, where we stay, where we eat, how we borrow money, what we can hire, even where you can board a pet,” he said.
Airbnb was quick to respond.
“We applaud the state government in Tasmania for recognising the tremendous benefits of home sharing,” Mike Orgill, Airbnb’s director of public policy, Asia Pacific, stated.
“We look forward to working with the Premier to help grow and diversify tourism and to provide visitors to the state with a unique travel experience in the homes of local residents, beyond the regular tourist hotspots. This helps spread economic benefits to new families, communities and local businesses that otherwise wouldn’t benefit from the tourist dollar.
“We also know that a large number of Airbnb hosts right across Australia come from low to moderate income households and rely on this additional income to pay the bills and help make ends meet. By working together with the government on clear and simple rules for home sharing, we can support more everyday Australians.”
Written by Peter Needham