As the first project to utilize the federal government’s $2 billion social housing acceleration fund, two empty public housing towers in Melbourne’s inner-north will be demolished to make way for at least 230 new energy-efficient apartments. This will be the first project to utilize the fund.
On Tuesday, the renovation was revealed with the state’s premier, Daniel Andrews. Anthony Albanese complimented the Victorian government for not “flogging off” the site to developers when he made the announcement alongside Andrews.
The current red-brick buildings in Carlton were constructed in the 1960s, and they are home to a total of 196 residential units. The Prime Minister stated that there were “problems with sewage” that made it “impossible to upgrade” the properties, which resulted in them being vacated earlier this year.
People who used to live in the towers will be sent an invitation to move into the new houses when they are ready. Tenants of public housing who are displaced as a result of other redevelopment projects will also have access to the residences.
According to Andrews, the project will increase the number of social housing units available at the site by at least 10%.
The premier stated that they would tear down those skyscrapers and replace them with something “incomparably superior.”
They are antiquated, they do not meet today’s standards, and they are not suitable for use. They have fallen into disrepair. No one currently resides there because they all left earlier this year when the building became vacant. It’s surrounded by a fence.”
When praising Andrews for his commitment to social housing at the Carlton site, Albanese made reference to decisions made by previous governments of New South Wales to sell public housing homes in Millers Point and the Sirius Building.
“An alternative that would be available to an administration with less foresight than this one would be to flog it off or knock it over. It would be to the interest of private developers,” he remarked.
“I led a campaign against it in areas such as Millers Point in Sydney, where run-down buildings were put up for auction and sold to private investors. Buildings that were designed specifically for individuals with disabilities, such as the well-known Sirius Building located adjacent to the Harbour Bridge, were put up for sale and eventually sold.
“The purpose of this is to provide people with housing that is in close proximity to educational facilities, health care facilities, and urban areas, as well as to provide them with the sense of safety that they need.” And this is just the first of a number of projects that we are going to be working on in collaboration with the Victorian government here in this state.”
Under the terms of the fund, Victoria will receive $500 million to go toward the construction of new dwellings that will be under public ownership. However, it is yet uncertain whether the government will operate the sites or whether this task will be done by agencies; this type of housing is typically referred to as “social housing” or “community housing.”
The decision was greeted with enthusiasm by Katelyn Butterss, chief executive officer of the Victorian Public Tenants Association. Butterss referred to the move as a “positive step towards growing housing supply” in the state.
“When the announcement of this $2 billion was made, the prime minister was very clear — it is for public housing. “Butterss noted that we are still waiting for clarification that the housing promises that were announced today will be publicly owned and publicly administered.
“Although we have reason to be cautiously optimistic, it would be a major letdown if the community housing sector were once again tasked with managing these tenancies,”
She demanded that the Victorian government include further efforts to grow the number of public housing residences in the state in its housing statement, which is scheduled to be presented on Wednesday. She was referring to the fact that the number of public housing houses in the state is now at an all-time low.
Andrews has stated that a special meeting of the state cabinet will take place late on Tuesday afternoon in order to sign off on the first portion of the statement. This first section may include a tax on short-stay accommodations.
“We’ll be back before you quite a bit over the next few days and weeks making lots of announcements,” he told the media. “We’ll be back before you quite a bit over the next few days and weeks.”
“One of the things that will be up for discussion will be regarding whether or not to impose a statewide, consumer-facing charge on short-stay lodging providers such as Airbnb. If passed, the levy would be the first tax of its kind to be imposed on a statewide level anywhere in Australia.