Federal MP Questions Melbourne Tower Lockdowns

July 6, 2020 Updated: July 6, 2020

Melbourne’s severe lockdown of nine public housing towers to contain COVID-19 is adding to residents’ disadvantage, says a Victorian federal Labor MP.

Peter Khalil, the member for Wills, grew up in public housing in the 1970s.

“It is upsetting and concerning that during this health crisis the people in our community who are most socio-economically disadvantaged and vulnerable now face a hard lockdown, harsher even than on all other residents,” he said in a statement.

While he understands the need for action from the Andrews’ state Labor government, given the risks of high density housing, he also understands the fear and anger of residents.

“Many residents are already faced with the challenges of language and communication barriers, are new migrants and already experience socio-economic disadvantage,” he said.

“People living in these nine towers are now subject to another layer of disadvantage based on their residence being high-density housing.”

Khalil said among community questions were what other responses could have been pursued for the towers and what proactive plans were made to safeguard them during this pandemic?

“I urge local, state and federal government to use this moment to make real and lasting investment and reform to the public housing system.”