Noosa’s STA ‘cowboys’ still riding free

About 1500 dwellings continue to be offered for short term rent in Noosa without approval.  That’s right –  200 more than were operating unregistered and unapproved in February this year at the time of the Local Law review, according to the Noosa Council.

Council estimated that 5200 dwellings are available for short term rent of which 4000 are located outside the tourist zone and must be registered and approved. It has approved just 2554.

Eighty-three applications have now been refused, according to the council.


One of these was for a Sunshine Beach duplex that the owner wanted to let as a Short Term Accommodation business.  When council refused, the owner appealed to the Planning and Environment Court.

Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart said the outcome of the appeal would be a litmus test for the Council’s STA Local Law, and no doubt she was relieved when Justice Cash supported Council’s refusal.

But some Noosa ratepayers long opposed to the commercial development of residential properties for short stay accommodation say the decision has opened another can of worms for council. The approval was sought for a Type 2 duplex based on the Noosa Plan 2006, and Justice Cash examined whether that authorised short stay letting. He found that Type 2 duplex provides for permanent or semi-permanent residents but not for Short Term Accommodation. 

Now these ratepayers say these findings call into question all STA approvals for properties where development approval is based on the 2006 Noosa Plan. They have discussed their interpretation with council staff who are considering the need for further advice. 


Council STA statistics also show that hot line complaints have increased. The Local Law review last February was told there were 612 calls in the first 12 months of the hot line’s operation, an average of two calls/day. In the 10 months to October there were 799 calls – approaching an average of three calls/day, or the complaints level only previously reached at peak holiday times. 

Hotline callers, put on hold, report they are told they must provide names and addresses to lodge complaints. The Local Law provides for complainants to be anonymous. So what gives?

How serious is Council in wielding its much-lauded Local Law powers and providing the resources for overstretched staff?

Well, despite nearly 1500 dwellings offered for short-term accommodation operating without approval, just 78 compliance letters were issued to their owners.  

As well three compliance notices were issued; and one notice to show cause. 

At the human level, for those suffering sleepless nights in party Noosa, the reality of our Local Law policing doesn’t quite match the hype does it?


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