Two brick towers in Melbourne’s inner north will make way for Australia’s first social housing “accelerator” project under a joint initiative by the Victorian and federal governments.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday joined Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to announce the development of more than 230 homes at the uninhabited Carlton towers site.

The homes will take up a significant chunk of Victoria’s allocated 769 homes under the social housing accelerator investment, backed by the federal government’s cash injection of almost $500 million for social housing stock in the state.

All former residents of the Carlton towers, built in the 1960s with 196 dwellings, will be invited to live in the homes built on the site.

The new dwellings will also house tenants who live in other public housing redevelopment projects while they are underway.

The prime minister described the existing towers as uninhabitable.

Construction is slated to begin in the middle of next year and be completed in 2028, with the cost of the project subject to tenders.

Victoria was allocated $496 million in June as part of the federal government’s $2 billion social housing package, amid protracted negotiations with the Greens to pass Labor’s signature $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund.

It is also set to share in up to $3 billion pledged to states and territories that help reach an updated national target to build 1.2 million new homes over five years from July 2024.

Mr Andrews and cabinet colleagues were separately expected to endorse policies developed as part of the government’s long-awaited housing statement as early as this week, ahead of an announcement.

The changes could include an Australian-first levy on short-term accommodation bookings with providers such as Airbnb and curtailing council powers to fast-track development approvals.

The premier has refused to rule either of the measures in or out, but confirmed the imminent release of at least the first part of the housing statement.

“We will quite soon make substantive, common sense announcements that mean more houses will get built,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne on Monday.

“More houses means lower prices.”

The state opposition has decried the potential levy of up to 7.5 per cent as a tourism tax that will hurt holiday-makers and regional communities.

“It’s not fair or right for Daniel Andrews to shift his problems on to Victorian households,” Opposition Leader John Pesutto told reporters.

The Victorian Greens suggest any Airbnb levy should be brought in alongside a 90-day cap on short-stay listings, forcing owners to make more homes available to renters.

Melbourne is forecast to overtake Sydney as the nation’s largest city early next decade.

Infrastructure Victoria has warned Melbourne needs to build 44,000 new homes a year to accommodate an extra 3.1 million people by 2051.

Source: AAP