Neil Angus

Melbournians remember the visuals of people being locked in those high-rise towers just before the Stage 4 restrictions were imposed in Victoria, in an attempt by the state government to stop community transmission of COVID-19 and averting the second wave which we are facing now.

There were many problems that the residents complained of, particularly lack of measures which were required to be put in place before those residents could be locked down in those towers.

Victorian parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee COVID-19 Inquiry has been looking into what went on culminating in the locking down of those towers and their residents.

And according to the Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Neil Angus the committee has heard evidence of the Andrews Labor Government’s shambolic mishandling of the “hard lockdown” of the public housing towers in the North Melbourne and Flemington last month.

Mr Angus cites the hearing saying the inquiry heard that multicultural community leaders were not consulted by DHHS or any other government agency regarding the “hard lockdown”.

Residents were left shocked and frustrated by the number of police and officials who appeared without warning surrounding the buildings, with many describing it as being in jail.

Unable to prepare for the lockdown, residents were subjected to culturally inappropriate and culturally insensitive food, with some residents going without the necessities for days.

Referring to “the evidence at PAEC,  Neil Angus says, “the Andrews Labor Government’s response to the “hard lockdown” was described as “a mess” by one witness confirmed that inadequate planning had gone into this action” .

The inquiry heard that the Andrews Labor Government failed to consult the multicultural sector in the early days of the pandemic.  If they had, many of the issues raised would have been addressed quickly and effectively.

The inquiry also heard that the government’s communication and information to the CALD communities, especially the residents of the public housing towers, was chaotic and outdated, with many translated documents being incorrect.

“The Andrews Labor Government’s failure to consult with the local multicultural community leaders resulted in unnecessary fear and stress being experienced by residents”, Mr Angus added.

Victoria’s multicultural communities and the residents of the public housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne have been bitterly let down during the COVID-19 crisis by this Labor Government.  Daniel Andrews as Premier wears responsibility for that.

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