Byron Shire Council – the uphill battle to regulate Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA)

The Minister giveth and the Minister taketh away. Regular readers will know of our ongoing interest and support of the Bryon Shire Council in its efforts to achieve a better balance in its renting system.

As we were heading into the Christmas summer break, the Minister for Planning and Homes, Anthony Roberts, made a curious eleventh-hour decision to withdraw local plan making authority from Byron Shire Council in its efforts to more ambitiously regulate short-term rental accommodation (‘STRA’). You can read the NSW Government media release here.

Byron Shire Council had recently exhibited their proposed mapped approach to regulating STRA in the LGA. Council had proposed that a lower annual day cap (90 days) apply to parts of Byron for ‘exempt’ non-hosted accommodation, compared to the lowest cap available under the current Housing SEPP planning instrument of 180 days.

Extract from the Planning Proposal showing parts of Byron Bay East that would be exempt non-hosted STRA (yellow) and all other allotments subject to 90-day non-hosted STRA cap.

Our members may recall us providing Council with a letter of support for its proposal. Shelter NSW strongly supports local communities trying to find the right balance of tourist accommodation and homes for residents. Indeed, this forms part of our State Election Platform of Asks:

There has been much back and forth over the years between Council and the Department of Planning & Environment during the Planning Proposal process. All the while, the housing and rental crisis has grown to fever-pitch in the North Coast region following devastating floods, the COVID-induced domestic tourism boom, and the proliferation of e-changers/remote workers. In this article, Professor Nicole Gurran states it is critical to properly regulate STRA and there needs to be an acknowledgement of the measurable impact that STRA has on long-term housing and rental supply.

Alas, the final Planning Proposal decision now apparently rests with Minister Roberts who is seeking advice from the Independent Planning Commission before making his final determination on the fate of the mapped & capped approach to regulating STRA in Byron Shire. We have queried the Department of Planning & Environment about what legislative powers or Gateway Determination conditions have been invoked to allow local plan-making authority to be stripped of Council in this instance.

We recommend our readers check out the Independent Planning Commission page which has been setup in preparation for a public Hearing into the STRA Planning Proposal for Byron Shire. Shelter NSW has been invited to speak at the Hearing, which will run from 21 to 23 February. If anyone, and especially our members, would like more information on this topic or to get in touch with us before the Hearing, please contact Kayla Clanchy, Policy Officer, at