Yarra calls for more support for public housing residents

Thursday 09 July 2020

As Melbourne enters stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions, Yarra Council is calling on the State Government to provide more support for the residents of Yarra’s 12 high rise towers.

While Yarra's public housing towers are not subject to a full lockdown, Yarra Mayor Cr Misha Coleman said Yarra wants the Premier and relevant Ministers to work with councils to prevent another sudden lockdown situation for public housing towers.

“It’s essential we take action and get these measures in place immediately and provide occupants with the support they need to help get through the next six weeks under stage 3 stay at home lockdown,” said Cr Coleman.

“We’re calling on the State Government to ensure public housing communities are given the best information and care possible, and to help us adequately plan for situations like this."

Yarra is advocating for support for public housing communities, including:

  • Immediately begin testing of all public housing tenants
  • For any positive residents to be managed on a case by case basis by DHHS rather than closing down whole towers
  • Establish free Wi-Fi
  • Provide appropriate and timely translated information
  • Ensure onsite security providers are instructed to comply with proper social distancing measures.

This motion was passed in a Council Meeting last night (Tuesday 7 July 2020).

 Yarra Council will continue to work with DHHS and the Chief Medical Officer to ensure the health and safety of the community.




Moved: Councillor Jolly                                 Seconded: Councillor Stone

1. That Yarra Council notes:
(a) the lockdown of 9 public housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne;
(b) the welcomed statement of the Premier today that priority will be given to tests from high rise public housing residents;
(c) the concerns raised by residents in Yarra’s 12 high rise towers, 5 in North Richmond, 4 in Fitzroy and 3 in Collingwood; 
(d) the concerns raised by the wider Yarra community about the wellbeing of these residents should they be subject to total lockdown in the future; and
(e) the announcement this afternoon by the Premier of a 6 week stage 3 stay at home restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne.

2. That Council propose that our Mayor and Chief Executive Officer urgently advocate to the State government tomorrow, seeking that it implement the following proposals for each of the 12 Yarra towers:
(a) ensure immediate testing for all public housing tenants and if any occupants do test positive, they are managed on a case by case basis by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), rather than the whole tower having to be closed down;
(b) that DHHS ensure Sanitiser be immediately made available in every laundry, foyer and lift;
(c) that DHHS ensure current onsite security providers are instructed to assist with proper social distancing measures in laundries, foyers and lifts; 
(d) in the event of a total lockdown of the 12 towers that there be an immediate rent freeze; and
(e) in the event of a total lockdown that tenants be provided with medication, nutritious and culturally appropriate food and urgent provisions promptly and without the delays reported today in other estates.

3. That Council advocate to DHHS to implement an emergency free Wi-Fi service for the 12 towers as a vital resource to tenants in any lockdown. 

4. That Council request the CEO to ensure Yarra officers are prepared to offer support to residents in any of the 12 high rise towers in the event of a lockdown.

5. That Council note that if the State requests resources or assistance from Yarra City Council, the CEO immediately draws the matter to the attention of Council.

6. That Council further note that under the current State of Emergency, the Chief Health Officer will issue directions relating to any lockdown at Yarra’s public housing estates, which may override any of the above.


Councillors Searle, Bosler, Stone, Jolly, O’Brien, Chen Yi Mei, Fristacky and Coleman
Against: Councillor Nguyen


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