Solidarity & Support for the people and communities living in Kensington and Flemington public housing towers

drummond street services want to express our deep solidarity with the communities living in the nine housing estates in Kensington and Flemington who are experiencing ‘hard’ lockdown. The introduction of this latest lockdown will be deeply distressing for so many residents, particularly for those needing essential support.

These residents are valued community members, who like so many other Victorians, have complied with public health orders. They have maintained resilience – dealing with the stresses of self-isolation, health, financial and employment concerns whilst supporting one another and their children.

They do this, despite living in crowded conditions, not having the choice to maintain physical distance, to work from home, or go elsewhere to safeguard their own and their families physical or mental health. drummond street services have also been told that current and accessible public health information on practical measures such as cleaning and sanitising shared spaces has been difficult to find or access. Residents have navigated these risks and realities the best they can.

Many of these residents are the same people who throughout this pandemic have continued to provide essential support to the Victorians – they include health and caring workers, retail workers, drivers, security personnel, cleaners and other frontline services.  We understand the Victorian Government’s intent in stopping virus transmission – however; the time, the means, the enforcement messages and the arrival of police at the high-rise estates has been very different to the COVID response so far in other communities.  This only marginalises people.

We are disappointed in the lack of time given to residents to prepare, the insufficient translated community information and the limited engagement and consultation with key community leaders and services prior to the announcement. Furthermore, we have serious concerns about Victoria Police’s enforcement and presence, given the history of negative experiences many in these communities have had with policing.

Premier Andrews has said policing for this lockdown is ‘unprecedented’, we would also like to see ‘unprecedented’ support given to these residents, both during this time and beyond. This means delivering quality support services in consultation with communities and community leaders, including; seriously addressing housing conditions and supply as well as addressing the direct impacts of this lockdown.

As many community members and organisations aim to co-ordinate and respond to COVID19 within the limits of our own resources – we ask State Government provide accessible information on urgent and important needs such as:

  • accessing essential medication, services and supplies (food/material aid, child and parenting support, interpreters, mental health services, substance support, disability services, legal support etc).
  • engagement with community leaders, groups and support organisations that people trust
  • current and ongoing information on public health measures – testing, lockdown and service coordination
  • recognition of and action to address unique experiences of distress and intimidation within communities, particularly for First Nations people, young people of colour and those who have experienced violence by authorities in their countries of origin.

Victorians have put their trust in government during this public health emergency.  We urge the government to demonstrate and maintain sensitivity, collaboration and consultation with communities.  We must learn from this health crisis and listen more to the voices of those who are too often minimised, excluded or included far too late in the rollout of government measures.  This requires reaching out to embrace communities’ strengths, knowledge and capacity. 

For residents needing support they can contact the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) on 1800 961 054.

For urgent phone advice regarding COVID lockdown enforcement call Victoria Legal Aid’s Legal Help line on 1300 792 387.

drummond street services at 03 9663 6733 or at or

Any media enquiries contact Cheryl Miller-Yell on 0488 787 373 or Ali Hogg on 0437 017 165.

Thank you to those who have offered their time and support wanting to help in some way. If you want to register to volunteer, offer your skills or donate you can do so here