Sydney, Australia, Sep 20 (EFE).- The state of Victoria announced Wednesday it would charge a 7.5 percent tax on income received by short-stay accommodation service platforms, such as Airbnb or Stayz, starting 2025, making it the first jurisdiction in Australia to adopt the measure.
The amount raised from tax, announced as part of a strategy to combat the housing crisis in the next 10 years in Victoria, will be used for the development and financing programs of some 800,000 social and affordable homes, especially in its rural areas.
In justifying the tax, the Victorian regional government said that while short-term accommodation – such as Airbnb or Stayz – has become a popular element of Victoria’s tourism economy, it has also reduced the ability of many properties to be used as long-term accommodation.
Currently, short-term accommodation service platforms offer 36,000 homes in Victoria, which with its 6.5 million inhabitants is the second most populous state in the nation and one of the most visited regions in Australia, especially in its capital Melbourne.
In less than three decades, its population will be 10.3 million inhabitants, according to official data.
Following the announcement, Airbnb Australia and New Zealand public policy director Michael Crosby said he considers this tax “very high,” adding that its application could discourage travelers from choosing Victoria as a tourist destination.
Along the same lines, the Victorian Tourism Industry Council said in a statement that the regional government’s plans “will paralyze the recovery of tourism in the state,” at a time when the region is just beginning to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and a series of natural disasters.
He also said the measure “is not a tax on short-stay platforms or property owners,” but rather “a tax on consumers who rent those properties” that could impact the recovery of tourism in the region, where spending tourism has plummeted in recent months, according to the most recent data. EFE