Tourists back NSW clean-up campaign
By MEGAN KINNINMENT
RATS, cockroaches and bedbugs ? British tourists Kirsty Morris and Adam Swanson can tell some horror stories about backpacker squalor.
And Italian backpacker Marco Bartolini needed medical treatment because of bedbugs in a Sydney hostel.
However, all three backpackers, who had just arrived in Byron Bay, yesterday welcomed State Government moves to protect the legitimate backpacker industry.
NSW Tourism Minister Sandra Nori on Monday announced moves to shut down illegal backpacker establishments.
Ms Nori has convened a working group that will investigate banning advertising for illegal accommodation, limiting the number of people allowed on a residential lease, and allow local councils and fire brigades to enter and inspect illegal backpacker operations.
The news was met with enthusiasm from the Byron Residents Against Community Erosion (BRACE), who have lobbied on behalf of residents suffering from late-night noise in neighbouring properties that are rented during holi- days.
"This is fabulous. It should have been done a long time ago," BRACE spokesperson Peter Wilkosz said.
"A residential community that is negatively impacted upon will create a poor holiday experience."
Aquarius Backpacker manager Todd Batson described the moves to shut down illegal operations as 'brilliant'.
"The biggest problems are cleanliness, overcrowding and safety issues," Mr Batson said. "If there is ever an accident in one of these places it will reflect on the whole backpacker industry."