Victoria’s ombudsman has received dozens of complaints about the treatment of residents during Melbourne’s hard lockdown of public housing towers.

It may have ended a month ago but residents of one North Melbourne tower still feel distressed about the severity of and inadequate communication around the harsh lockdown.

About 3000 residents from nine public housing estates were prevented from leaving their homes for any reason in early July.

No notice was given before police were sent in to guard the towers in a bid to control COVID-19 clusters.

In looking the treatment of residents during the 14-day lockdown of 33 Alfred Street at North Melbourne, Ombudsman Deborah Glass has so far received 89 complaints and 55 submissions from individuals and organisations.

“We are hearing very strong concerns about the lack of access people had to information, as well as to fresh air, exercise and medical supplies,” she said on Tuesday.

“Even with Melbourne in stage four lockdown, generally most people still have access to essential supplies, fresh air and exercise.


“It is important that we document and understand what happened and learn lessons from what occurred, so that in the future the human rights of public housing tenants are recognised as much as everyone else’s.”

Ms Glass is analysing data from the Department of Health and Human Service officials and meeting weekly with its officials around ongoing infection controls and preventative health measures at public estates.

Victoria’s Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is also involved in the investigation.

Anyone affected by the hard lockdown can make a submission about their experiences until August 28.


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