Left to ‘starve’ with four sausage rolls

 

Residents locked down in north Melbourne's public housing towers say they are "starving" and have broken down on camera as they say they were only given four sausage rolls to survive on during a hard lockdown.

Public housing residents Debbie Harrison and her elderly mother Ivy told A Current Affair on Monday night they'd run out of fresh food and toilet paper and when they asked for help they were ignored.

Residents in nine public housing towers in North Melbourne and Flemington were put into a hard lockdown confining them to their homes on Saturday afternoon, after a spike in coronavirus cases was linked to some of the towers.

Ms Harrison said over a period of 48 hours her and her mother were only given four sausage rolls in a plastic bag to eat.

"The (sausage rolls) are just going to go in the bin," she told the reporter who interviewed her from her balcony.

She said her and her mum had been OK on Sunday but "today, it's just not fair."

Another tower resident, Omar, told the program pregnant mums had been begging other residents for milk.

"People are going to die of starvation," he said.

 

Debbie said her and her mother have run out of fresh food and were given four sausage rolls to live off for two days. Picture: A Current Affair
Debbie said her and her mother have run out of fresh food and were given four sausage rolls to live off for two days. Picture: A Current Affair

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On social media groups organised to take in donations of food and other goods for the 3000 people on hard lockdowns in the nine towers. One group working in Melbourne organised for donors to give food and other goods while maintaining social distance and practising hygiene. They quickly reached capacity for donations on Monday.

 

But on Monday night footage surfaced showing workers from the SES removing bags of donated food from one of the locked down public housing towers in Flemington.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services apologised for the incident in a statement given to freelance journalist Margaret Simons.

"DHHS is aware of some delays with accepting donations and deliveries which caused confusion at the Flemington housing estate this evening.

"We are currently working with the parties involved to make sure food and other supplies are being provided without further interruption.

"We apologise for the inconvenience and frustration caused and thank the residents for their co-operation and patience."

Today former Labor leader Bill Shorten urged the Victorian government to "treat these people as decently as we can", saying "people who live in these towers are not something different or special.

 

"They are battlers, they are trying to go to work."

He said while some of the residents were "relieved that they are getting more resources, others are disillusioned".

"Just to explain these towers … In the ones in my area, there is 22 levels. There is nine apartments a levels.

"They have two lifts and sometimes one of the lifts may not be working. So you have to walk up and down 22 sets of external concrete stairways, it is very windy.

Mr Shorten said while some commentators had been "carrying on like they have the Life Of Riley … they don't."

"There's a whole lot of people trying to make ends meet. It is a difficult situation."

Originally published as Left to 'starve' with four sausage rolls


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