Melbourne Public Housing Residents ‘Virtually Under House Arrest’: Aussie MP

July 7, 2020 Updated: July 7, 2020

Liberal Party opposition spokesman for housing Tim Smith has urged Victoria’s Labor government to outline its plans to stop the spread of the CCP virus at the nine locked-down public housing towers in Melbourne, the state’s capital city.

“The 3000 residents of the towers in Flemington and North Melbourne who are virtually under house arrest are paying for Daniel Andrews catastrophically poor leadership,” he said in a statement, the AAP reported.

Residents at nine public housing estates in Flemington, Kensington, and North Melbourne are locked down due to a localised outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday that thousands of meals, supplies, and personal care packs had been delivered—provided by charities and companies and facilitated by the government.

“We know this is tough on our public housing residents and that’s why we’re doing everything we can to provide support – whether that’s food, mental health support or just help paying the bills,” said Andrews.

However, some residents reportedly experienced longer than preferred waiting times, and some rejected the food.

“You will find boxes of food that have been left right in front of the lift because it is pork. But the vast majority of people living in the towers are Muslim, they can’t eat it,” Ahmed Dini, a resident of the North Melbourne, told The Guardian on July 6.

The Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged there were “some delays with accepting donations and deliveries, which caused confusion at ​some housing estates that are in lockdown.”

“We apologise for the inconvenience and frustration caused and thank the residents for their co-operation and patience.”

Abdiraham Ibrahim, a father of five living in a Flemington tower, said supplies were more accessible on Tuesday. He had earlier relied on friends to deliver necessities, such as milk and baby formula.

“If the government are not providing what we need, they shouldn’t be stopping people from bringing it,” he told AAP.

Victoria’s Housing Minister Richard Wynne said on Monday that the government is “working as quickly as possible to ensure every household has what they need.”

The government’s statement said that 400 activity boxes had been provided to entertain kids, rent relief had been provided, and additional payments of either $750 or $1500 made to help residents.