The Victorian Greens have today called for an independent inquiry into how the ‘hard lockdown’ of Flemington and North Melbourne public housing towers was managed.
Acting Leader of the Greens, Ellen Sandell, has joined with local representatives Adam Bandt and Rohan Leppert, to call for an inquiry to start after lockdown is lifted so as not to divert resources away from the COVID response.
As stated by Ellen Sandell, state MP for Melbourne:
“We’re glad that the restrictions on several of the towers have now been lifted, but for many people in hard lockdown, this was five days of hunger, worry, and confusion because they were left without food, information, medicine and supplies”
“We had to step in and help a woman who couldn’t get clean insulin needles for her diabetic child, an elderly woman who didn’t have any food, a mum who couldn’t get breastmilk to her sick premature baby in hospital, and dozens of other cases of people who didn’t have food, vital medication, mental health support, nappies and baby formula. These were all promised by the government but arrived late, or not at all”
“We absolutely support the Government’s health-led approach to the lockdown, but when Dan Andrews said people would get support, it unfortunately just wasn’t true. Volunteers had to step in, because there was no established process to get essential sustenance and supplies to residents locked in their homes, even after many days.”
“People in public housing deserve the same dignity and respect as every other member of the community, and we simply want the Government to learn from their mistakes here so people are never again locked up without access to food or medicine.”
As stated by Councillor Rohan Leppert:
“The City of Melbourne took on food distribution coordination in North Melbourne on Monday. We saw up-close the dysfunction of the logistical response, and even now I have no confidence that every household with special needs has had their needs met.”
“The chaos of the logistics coordination only multiplied the human rights abuses that a force-led intervention inflicted on marginalised communities. This must never be allowed to happen again.”