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Housing estate lockdown: What happened to ‘together’?

The residents living in the Flemington and North Melbourne public housing estates are frontline workers, nurses, construction workers, teachers and valued members of strong, resilient and caring communities who have been, like the rest of Victoria, self isolating, getting tested and supporting each other throughout this pandemic.

It has been three days since the Premier announced the estate my family and I call home would be placed into a hard lockdown. Our family of four has received one small box containing food and apart from the packet of Weet-Bix and jar of jam, every other item had passed its expiry date. We have not had a visit from medical professionals and are still awaiting to be tested with no knowledge when or how that will occur.

About 500 police are patrolling the affected towers in Melbourne.

About 500 police are patrolling the affected towers in Melbourne.Credit:Darrian Traynor

So far the only direct communication we have received from the government has been via police officers. While we have heard announcements of a co-ordinated effort involving doctors, social workers, mental health professionals and community leaders our only direct interaction with authorities to date has been with the police officers patrolling our floor and stationed out the front of our building.

Since the first round of lockdowns were implemented in March, I had made numerous attempts to engage and share my concerns with the Office of Housing and Department of Human Health and Services with no response. Our community from the outset was conscious of the lack of hand sanitisation stations for visitors and those entering the building, the difficulties in procuring personal protective equipment and the overcrowding of communal spaces like the laundry.

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