Edward Mandla
COUNCIL SPEECHES
Regulations for Backpacker Hostels

Published On: 26/10/2015
The injury of any person is always a cause for reflection. This path has been walked before however and the lessons heeded. Everyone remembers the terrible fire at the Down Under Hostel on Darlinghurst Road in 1989 that caused the death of 6 young people. We have come a long way since then.

The operators of hostels, public venues and dwellings are already subject to a myriad of rules and regulations and in comparison, the track record of operators in recent years is excellent.

When youíre hammer, everything looks like a nail, when youíre Jenny Green and Clover Moore, everything looks like Red Tape and bureaucracy and the solution to every problem is more of it.

When it comes to laws and regulations that deal with matters of nuisance, noise and misconduct we are full to overflowing. Then there is the building code of Australia, Council Ordinances and Regulations, State Legislation already ties the operators up in a straight-jacket. Our fire regulations are the toughest and most rigorously enforced in the country. The number of assaults and nuisance crimes is on the decline.

My office has received numerous emails over the last week to do with this issue, and I assume that every other Councillor has read them as well. A recurring issue seems to be non-compliance with Hostels closing their courtyards at 10pm. This is openly flouted and is well known by the City of Sydney. We have the power under the EPA, why arenít using it?

The next problem is noise at 10pm why arenít we doing something about it?

I remember we made the same excuse with overcrowding and the container people fire in Alexandria. Then suddenly, we found the power and we did something about it.

So before we rush to pile more on top, we might think to use the powers that already exist properly before we pass anymore.

There is no reason to impose yet another regulatory and cost burden. This is a classic case of Councillor Green trying to look busy. ďSomething must be doneĒ, cries the good Councilor, here is something. But the backdrop, is that we have powers to the wazoo that we are not using. Itís time we started using them and stopped blaming others for our problems.

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