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Victoria to tax Airbnbs in wide-ranging plan to fix housing crisis



Victoria will become the first state in Australia to tax short-stay accommodation such as Airbnbs in an attempt to combat the housing crisis.

From 2025, a 7.5 per cent levy on short-stay accommodation revenue will be introduced, with the funds raised to be used to fund social and affordable housing.

A quarter of that tax revenue will go towards the construction of homes in regional Victoria.

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Airbnb phone app.

The tax is one of a raft of measures announced by the Andrews government this morning under a new scheme that aims to have 800,000 new homes built in the state over the next decade.

On top of the crackdown on short-stay accommodation – which experts say is restricting the amount of housing available to tenants while rental vacancy rates remain low – a new body to manage rental disputes will be established and government land freed up to provide space for 9000 homes under the Housing Statement.

"While short stay accommodation – like Airbnb or Stayz – has become a popular feature of Victoria's visitor economy, it's also reduced the ability for many properties to be used for longer-term accommodation," the Housing Statement says.

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Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews at a press conference.

"In Victoria, there are more than 36,000 short-stay accommodation places – with almost half of these in regional Victoria. More than 29,000 of those places are entire homes.

"These are places that cannot be used for longer-term accommodation or rented out on fixed term agreements – so it makes sense that they should provide some benefit toward the places that can."

The government will also look to protect tenants' rights by creating a portable bond scheme, restricting rent increases between fixed-term agreements, and banning rent bidding.

Andrews also said an "unacceptable" backlog of 1400 planning applications will be addressed, while all 44 of the state's high-rise public housing towers will be demolished and rebuilt by 2051, starting with the reconstruction of the uninhabitable Carlton Towers announced yesterday.

"Our 44 high-rise towers are old, they're out of date, they are crumbling, they need to go," the premier said.

"And in what is undoubtedly the biggest urban renewal project in our state's history and I think potentially our nation's history, all 44 of those towers will go, they will be replaced by 2051."

The government says the work completed under the Housing Statement will create 36,000, while Andrews said its 800,000 is a "really big down payment" on the 2.2 million new homes the state needs by 2051.

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