Young people who live in the towers are being asked to make even more sacrifices in their lives, for the benefit of the broader community.–Katherine Ellis, YACVic CEO
We understand this decision has been made for the safety of local communities and residents, and for the safety of the wider Victorian community.
However, YACVic has concerns about the wellbeing of people in this severe lockdown, many of whom have faced trauma which may be exacerbated by the increased police presence and restrictive conditions, and who will be separated from family and other supports.
We call on the Government to recognise that young people who live in the towers are being asked to make even more sacrifices in their lives, for the benefit of the broader community. Government should also acknowledge young people's vital role in making sure important messages are communicated and understood in their families and communities. We urge greater investment in these young people’s wellbeing, education and future opportunities, especially jobs.
YACVic fully endorses the statement by the Victorian Council for Social Service (VCOSS), that recognises that this is a public health decision, but also calls for the lockdowns to be “done right, done proportionately and done with sensitivity.” See VCOSS’s full statement here.
YACVic also supports the work of the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) who have identified ‘that many residents are reporting feeling anxious, afraid and intimidated by the strong police presence, and the lack of warning they received for this lockdown’. See CMY’s full statement here.
Responses to health crises should be led in the first instance by trained and supported health, community and youth workers, who can ensure that people are aware of changes, comprehensively supported and included in decision-making.
We will collectively achieve the best outcomes for everyone if we listen to residents and work together to ensure their safety. We strongly support measures to engage and work with young people and others affected by the lockdown to ensure their agency, safety and wellbeing.
The Victorian Government has a responsibility to ensure that all of those affected are included in decision-making and that they are supported to create community-led solutions.
Resources and Information for Young People and Residents
- Victorian Government information on services and supports available to residents
- Tenants who need help with food and supplies can call 1800 961 054
- Tenants who need free legal advice can call 1800 113 432
- Resources in different languages
- Flemington and Kensington Legal Centre’s explainer
- Easy English explanation with images
Media contact: Katherine Ellis, YACVic CEO is available for interviews. You can arrange an interview via Katia Pellicciotta (she/her), YACVic Media and Communications Coordinator on 9267 3744 or KPellicciotta@YACVic.org.au
About YACVic: Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading advocate for young people aged 12–25 and the youth sector in Victoria. Established in 1960, YACVic advocates for the rights of young people in Victoria to ensure they are active, visible and valued in their communities.
Image attribution: ABC News, James Hancock, September 2019. Accessed 6 July 2020.