The Victorian Greens have welcomed the announcement of an inquiry into the hard lockdown of the public housing tower on Alfred Street in North Melbourne, saying they hope it will shine a light on the decades of neglect that contributed to the problem in the first place.
However, they have called for the scope of the inquiry to be extended to all nine public housing towers that were subjected to a hard lockdown.
Last week Adam Bandt MP, Ellen Sandell MP and Cr Rohan Leppert wrote a joint letter to Premier Andrews calling for an inquiry into the lockdowns, following serious concerns about the way they were managed by the government.
Due to the disorganised and haphazard process implemented during the lockdowns, many residents were left without food, medicine or information, while being confined in prison-like conditions.
A mum was prevented from seeing her sick newborn baby in intensive care in hospital for five days, an elderly woman who relied on care workers to cook for her was left without food and information for days, and a woman had to re-use insulin needles for her diabetic six-year-old.
The Greens say they hope the newly-announced inquiry will uncover how this was allowed to happen, to ensure it never happens again.
The inquiry must also provide a wake-up call to the government on the importance of investing in public housing and supporting public housing residents, after decades of neglect by successive governments.
Acting Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, said the government needed to learn from the past two weeks and ensure that marginalised communities were treated with the same respect and dignity as any other Victorian.
Quotes attributable to Acting Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
“We need to ask why 3,000 people were left without essential food and medicine for days, and were given no information about when these supplies would arrive.
“This also needs to be a wake-up call to the government on the importance of investing in public housing and supporting public housing residents. Decades of neglect by successive governments directly led to this situation.”