Tower residents urged to register for pay-out

Rhonda Dredge

Letters from the Supreme Court of Victoria have been delivered to the 3000 residents of the North Melbourne and Flemington towers advising of a proposed settlement from the State Government over the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020.

The government has agreed to pay $5 million to those locked up in the towers during the pandemic.

Sources close to the case estimate this will amount to around $2000 per adult over 16 and half that for a minor.

The letters do not apologise nor mention the word “compensation” but invite people to register for a class action.

They invite people to become a group member if they were present at 9 Pampas St, 159 Melrose St, 76 Canning St and 12 Sutton St, North Melbourne, and 120, 126 and 130 Racecourse Rd, 12 Holland Court, Flemington from July 4 to 9, 2020, and 33 Alfred St from July 9 to 18, 2020.

The Alfred St tower gets a special mention because residents were locked up there for an additional period, for a total of 14 days.

“Of course, it’s better than nothing,” one Alfred St resident told North West City News. “If they want to do something to help us – 100 per cent.”

But he added, “an apology should be undertaken before money” and that the lockdown was very stressful.

“Our family had just done the shopping. We helped out a neighbour with eight kids. We shared our food.”

His friend, also locked up in the tower, said, “We felt abandoned, like in prison. They’d forgotten about us. A lot of people tried to get attention. It’s been hard for people from the towers to take the government to court.”

He said not everyone would agree with the payout.


Truth be told my sister takes it seriously. They want us to be quiet. It’s hush money.


He said they had already been paid $450 by the government.

“I will accept it, knowing that some people aren’t as forgiving. They take it more seriously.”

People are urged to register online by June 27.

According to the lawyers, residents will not have to prove their occupation at the towers during this period because the government has access to vaccination records.

“As a group member you will not get any money if you do not register,” the letter says. Ben Clemens of Clemens Haskin Legal told North West City News that the precise number of participating group members will not be known until Notices of Claim have been received and processed.

“Therefore, the amount that each will receive (subject to Court approval of settlement) is not presently known.”

He said that it is estimated that the group included around 3000 residents, of which words by Rhonda Dredge COMMUNITY approximately 1000 were children at the relevant times.

The notice documents were delivered into the mailboxes of each of the nine affected towers by May 3, 2023, he said, and are available on the Victorian government’s website. 

“Translated versions of the notices should also be available shortly,” he said.

Mr Clemens handled the case for the towers and argued that the residents were unlawfully detained.

Upper House Liberal MP for Northern Metropolitan, Evan Mulholland, has bought into the issue and says that the government should apologise.

“Where is the apology from the state government? Any settlement should come with a full apology to residents, and a promise that this will never happen again,” he said.

“These are the most vulnerable members of our community, and they were treated like prisoners by Daniel Andrews and Labor.”

“The communities in Flemington and North Melbourne are home to many migrant families, who fled conflict overseas, only to have their most basic human rights taken from them by this Labor Government”. •

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