Airbnb has called for a contentious Victorian tax on short stays to be expanded to all accommodation bookings, including city hotels.
The state government last month announced an Australian-first, statewide levy on short-stay providers like Airbnb and Stayz.
The consumer-facing 7.5 per cent levy is slated to come into effect from 2025 and raise $70 million a year to build and maintain social housing.
In a breakfast event on Wednesday, Airbnb Australia and New Zealand public policy head Michael Crosby said the San Francisco-based giant was disappointed the levy was limited to short-stay platforms.
“We support the concept of using this revenue for the use in new housing projects,” he said.
“But we have said the levy would raise a lot more and cost consumers less if it was completely accommodation agnostic and apply to any form of accommodation.”
The levy was the headline policy from the state government’s housing statement as part of its push to build 800,000 homes in Victoria over the next decade amid weak supply and soaring rents.
Airbnb is not against the levy but had been pushing for a rate of three to five per cent.
Mr Crosby suggested plans were afoot to create a working group on how the levy would be implemented and Airbnb still had unanswered questions.
“It’s difficult to see how the levy will actually result in an increase in the properties available to long-term rentals across the state,” he said.
The NSW government has asked treasury to look at Victoria’s proposed levy, potentially paving the way to follow its lead.
Mr Crosby said the platform was in discussions with other state governments, which he indicated were monitoring the Victorian levy closely.
“Some states have not yet ruled it out as something they’re keen to do,” he said.
“Whether or not there’s any firm proposals from other states on the table, I don’t know – I don’t think I’ve seen any.
“The issue we have is we want to make sure … if there is that negative impact as a result of the levy, that state governments are aware of that as well.”
An independent report from Oxford Economics released on Wednesday found Airbnb contributed $3.7 billion to Victoria’s gross state product in the 12 months to March 2023.
(Australian Associated Press)