The Victorian Government says it’s 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.
Premier, Daniel Andrews said “this vital measure” will be in place for at least five days, ensuring every single resident can be tested for COVID-19.
“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,” the Premier said.
“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.”
“Restrictions will be lifted when we can see we have successfully tested and tracked this virus.”
He said a one-off $750 hardship payment would be provided to affected households, with those who get tested to have their payment 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 Premier said.
“And the Business Support Program will also extend $5,000 grants to businesses in the two new impacted postcodes.”
From today, Royal Melbourne Hospital staff will be onsite at both estates to ensure every resident can get tested, Mr Andrews said.
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.
The Premier said 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.”
The Government has appointed community services expert, Tony Nicholson, to provide advice on additional support for the public housing residents throughout this period.
“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,” said Minister for Housing, Richard Wynne.