As we continue our fight against coronavirus, the Victorian Government is ramping up support for those Victorians impacted by restrictions on public housing towers and hot zone postcodes.
After an outbreak at the Flemington and North Melbourne housing estates, the Government yesterday closed and contained nine towers, requiring residents to stay inside their homes to help slow the spread. This vital measure will be in place for at least five days, ensuring we can test every single resident.
Restrictions will be lifted when we can see we have successfully tested and tracked this virus. From today, Royal Melbourne Hospital staff will be onsite at both estates to ensure every resident can get tested. For Victorians living in the broader 3031 or 3051 postcodes, a new testing site is operational at Flemington Community Centre, with Kensington Town Hall and Melbourne Community Pool on Arden Street also open for testing from this afternoon.
A range of services are already available on the ground across the estates, with the Victorian Multicultural Commission actively engaging community leaders, issuing messages to its distribution network and playing a key role as the liaison point for community coordination.
Translators are onsite and will be doorknocking to help explain the directions and understand the individual assistance tenants might need.
In order to support residents, the Government will provide food and essential supplies, health care and mental health services. Deliveries of activity boxes for kids including crayons, Lego and puzzle books have already begun. A dedicated hotline has also been established to make sure help is available when and where it’s needed.
Recognising the financial burden the lockdown will place on many estate residents, a $750 hardship payment will be provided to affected households. Those who get tested will have their payments fast tracked. The Department of Health and Human Services will also provide two weeks of rent relief for all tenants in locked down towers.
The Government will continue providing one-off $1500 payments to support workers who are required to self-isolate because they are diagnosed with coronavirus or they are a close contact of a confirmed case but can’t rely on sick leave when missing work.
The Community Connector program will be delivered in partnership with the Red Cross, local government and other organisations, linking Victorians experiencing loneliness or social disconnection with a friendly ear and lending a hand to get online, arrange for pet care or connect to local supports and services.
The Business Support Program will also extend $5,000 grants to businesses in the two new impacted postcodes.
The Government has appointed community services expert Tony Nicholson to provide advice on additional support for the public housing residents throughout this period.
Quotes Attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“Yesterday our priority was to make the hard decisions to fight this virus and keep the community safe, and now we’re supporting those Victorians who’ve made this possible.”
“I want to thank people personally for their profound sacrifice – by staying home and getting tested, you are making a real difference in keeping our state safe.”
Quotes Attributable to Minister for Housing Richard Wynne
“As we continue to fight this virus, the Government will work closely with community leaders to ensure every public housing resident has the information and support they need.”
“We’ve always been a government that stands with the Victorians who need us most and that won’t change.”