Calls for tower apology, Victoria enters seventh day in lockdown

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Melbourne City Council has demanded that the state government apologise over its handling of the move to lock down nine public housing towers during a Covid outbreak in 2020.

A council report said lack of consultation with community leaders and poor planning had led to residents feeling distressed and distrustful of government.

Last July, the towers in North Melbourne and Flemington were suddenly locked down for up to two weeks in a bid to contain the virus spreading.

A scathing Victorian Ombudsman’s report said the decision hadn’t been based on direct health advice and an apology was warranted for breaching residents’ human rights.

scathing Victorian Ombudsman’s report, See all newsletters, full story here

Melbourne City Council is calling on the government to apologise to residents. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew HenshawSource:News Corp Australia

scathing Victorian Ombudsman’s report, See all newsletters, full story here

A lack of consultation with community leaders and poor planning had led to residents feeling distressed and distrustful of government, a council report found. Picture: William WEST / AFPSource:AFP

In a report before a city council meeting on Tuesday, council’s director of street support and compliance Dean Robertson said that the roles of health department, police and emergency services agencies had not been clearly specified.

“Lack of inclusion of (Muslim community services) in plans and implementation resulted in culturally inappropriate food being provided and a breakdown in any prior relationship government and community had had,” he said.

“While all but one tower in the City of Melbourne moved to Stage 3 restrictions within a week, the public housing estate tenants remained quite distressed and distrustful of government.”

scathing Victorian Ombudsman’s report, See all newsletters, full story here

Victoria is in the midst of its fifth lockdown. Picture: Daniel Pockett/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Greens councillor Rohan Leppert told the meeting that people, many from war-torn countries, had armed police at their doors and no information why the lockdown was happening.

“They were denied fresh air, the right food and medication for days, this was an extraordinary and unique circumstance, and that apology has to come,” he said.

Councillors voted unanimously for the government to implement all the Ombudman’s recommendations, including the apology.

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The council report said that distrust of government had been improved through big efforts by the state via various programs introduced since the incident.

scathing Victorian Ombudsman’s report, See all newsletters, full story here

The public housing towers were placed under hard lockdown in July 2020. Picture: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

scathing Victorian Ombudsman’s report, See all newsletters, full story here

An Ombudsman’s report said the decision hadn’t been based on direct health advice and an apology was warranted for breaching residents’ human rights. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Andrew HenshawSource:News Corp Australia

“These programs demonstrate an openness of the Victorian government and its partnering agencies, including City of Melbourne to learn from errors made at the time and feedback from the community,” it said.

“(Council) officers also worked closely with neighbouring councils to share what had been learned and prepare operational contingencies should a future outbreak in a high-density setting occur.”

VIDEO REVEALS REMOVALISTS’ COVID DELIVERY

The moment unmasked New South Wales removalists delivered Covid’s deadly Delta strain to Victoria, plunging 6.7 million people into lockdown, has emerged.

Damning footage reveals the trio of removalists brazenly breaching conditions of their special worker permits as they loaded furniture on trucks outside Maribyrnong’s Ariele Apartments on July 8.

The men failed to wear masks or socially distance as they came into close contact with residents of the now-locked down complex.

Read the full story here

Originally published asCalls for tower apology, Victoria enters seventh day in lockdown

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