In times of crisis, communities need to look out for each other. No-one can be allowed to fall through the cracks.
We know that our community is only as safe as the most vulnerable among us. This health crisis is affecting us all and to slow the spread of the Coronavirus we must protect everyone.
All of us are experiencing the nation-wide disruptions to daily life. For many, this could mean losing our job, closing our business or losing access to services we rely upon.
The Victorian Government has taken good steps in its rental relief package, but without further measures renters are at risk, small businesses will struggle, and people will be left behind.
The package ensures a ban on evictions and a freeze on rental increase, but it still leaves many renters vulnerable and with huge debts.
To ensure no one is left behind we need:
- A mechanism to provide rent relief for those who may not be in a position to pay their usual rent, including consideration of rent holidays.
- A guarantee that no one will have huge debts at the end of the 6 months.
- A guarantee of continued connection for power, water and internet for everyone.
The Victorian Greens #COVID-19 plans
See what we're fighting for
Victoria faces an unprecedented public health threat with the outbreak of COVID-19. This is a time to show solidarity and take the necessary actions as a community to ensure that we look after the vulnerable in our communities, and leave no one behind in the process. Here's a snapshot of what we're fighting for.
So far, we have successfully helped:
✅ Temporary ban on evictions in Victoria (commercial and residential). The temporary ban on evictions will provide much needed peace of mind for people who rent, and has been enshrined in law.
✅ A freeze on rent increases for at least 6 months. The Greens are urging the Victorian Government to bring in further protections, and successfully pushed for Victorian Parliament to be re-called to pass these measures. A big priority is rent relief to help people pay their rent, so they're not burdened with debt at the end of this crisis. See what else we had to say here.
✅ Recalled the Victorian Parliament to pass urgent measures to protect Victorians from all walks for life. This included ensuring the temporary ban on evictions, support for our most vulnerable and support for businesses are enshrined in law. We've also pushed to ensure that Parliament continues to meet online, or if not, that there is a dedicated scrutiny committee set up to help keep them accountable.
✅ Additional income support for people on Newstart (JobSeeker) and Students on Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy. All these groups get an additional $550 COVID supplement during the crisis, and a temporarily lift on mutual obligation requirements until 27/04/2020. While these measures are only temporary, our Federal colleagues continue the fight for permanent improvements.
✅ Support for Small Business- Small businesses are doing it tough right now, and with the COVID-19 situation changing daily, it may be a difficult time for small businesses for many months to come. We’ve been working closely with small businesses across inner-Melbourne to compile a list of those still open and operating, highlighting how we can buy local.
✅ Extra funding for Victoria's homelessness organisations to house people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, including in hotels and motels.
✅ Support and funding for the arts sector to help our arts and cultural organisations keep operating and keep people employed during the pandemic.
✅ $1,100 support payments for international students to help them pay for rent, food and bills.
These are big wins, but the work doesn't stop here!
We continue to fight for:
⚠️ The 1 million casual and gig-workers being left behind by the Government's wage subsidy announcement. Work is now so insecure that requiring 12 months or more of employment to access a wage subsidy is unrealistic and unfair, and must extend to ALL casual workers.
🏠 Stronger Housing Payment protections – Stronger protection for mortgage-holders and renters with access to mortgage holidays and rent holidays and increases to Centrelink Rent Assistance.
👩👧👦 Support for people in Australia on VISAs - There are a number of people currently living in Australia under a wide variety of VISAs who have no access to support payments. We'll continue to push the Government to include them in Jobkeeper and Jobseeker payments.
🔒 Early release of low-risk prisoners - Prisoners who are at heightened risk of hospitalisation if infected, who are imprisoned for non-violent offences, and who are nearing the end of their sentence should be eligible for early release. A coronavirus outbreak in a large, crowded prison would be very difficult to control amongst inmates and staff, and many prisoners have underlying health problems increasing their risk of more serious outcomes and hospitalisation.
🔒 The immediate release of asylum seekers in detention - especially the immediate release of the 67 asylum seekers currently being held at Mantra Bell City in Preston to avoid the risk of COVID-19 infection.
👩👧👦 More housing and increased funding for frontline domestic violence support services - No one should be afraid of staying inside, and everyone deserves a safe place to isolate.
♿ Making sure people with disabilities (and their carers) can access the information and the support services they need during the pandemic.
We'll continue to ensure that throughout this pandemic, no one is left behind. Keep up to date with what we're saying, including news and other updates, here.
Resources and Information
Physical Distance - Social Connection
As of Midnight, Monday 20th March, Victorians are required to only leave home if they need to access essential supplies (ie. food, or medicine) to go to the doctor or seek other medical treatment, exercise or go to work.
Remember that we must keep vulnerable people safe and minimise transmission of the coronavirus by maintaining physical distance. The government recommendation is 1.5m of distance between people. Only 2 people can make up a gathering, unless you live together.
Though we cannot come together in person, we need to stay connected and take care of each other. Look out for each other and help combat loneliness by taking time to check-in: call friends and loved ones, video call or message to stay connected.
This will be a very difficult and uncertain time for all of us and we may be in physical isolation for an extended period of time. But this doesn’t mean we should feel isolated. Maintaining community connections and showing solidarity will be a huge part of how we get through this together.
Here's some resources for staying connect and healthy at this time:
Good Hygiene & Health
This health crisis affects everyone and we all have our part to play in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.
If you are feeling unwell, you can find extra information on the Government's HealthDirect website, including information about symptoms, getting tested, when to self-isolate and information for carers.
To prevent the spread of the virus, make sure you are practicing good hygiene as outlined by the Victorian Government.
🚿 Protect yourself from #Coronavirus by washing your hands regularly with soap and water; and try not to touch your face, including your eyes, nose or mouth. One way to become infected is to transfer the virus from a contaminated surface to your face or mouth by touching.
🗣️ Practise good respiratory hygiene, by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, coughing into your elbow, disposing of tissues after use and washing your hands with soap afterwards.
🏡 Ensure that you're following the rules, and #StayAtHome. From 30th March, Victorians are required to stay at home unless going outside for medical appointments, work, exercise or for essential supplies.
There have been a number of announcements regarding financial support for those who are struggling because of COVID-19.
If you are financially affected by the coronavirus you can find more information about accessing government support here.
If your business has been affected by the coronavirus you can find more information about government support here.
To find out more information on any of the above, head to: