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Monday, July 6, 2020

Bill Shorten delivers Halal packages to residents locked in Melbourne public housing towers

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Former Labor Leader Bill Shorten has teamed up with a Melbourne butcher to deliver Halal care packages to residents locked in public housing towers.

Nine towers in Flemington and North Melbourne were locked down on Saturday in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, with 3,000 residents unable to leave their apartments for any reason for at least five days.

Some residents locked in the towers have complained they haven’t received enough food and supplies, so Mr Shorten took it upon himself to deliver some on Monday.

The former leader of the opposition shared photos of himself and local butcher Macca Halal Foods delivering the food in Flemington.

Former Labor Leader Bill Shorten has teamed up with a Melbourne butcher to deliver Halal care packages to residents locked in public housing towers

Former Labor Leader Bill Shorten has teamed up with a Melbourne butcher to deliver Halal care packages to residents locked in public housing towers

The former leader of the opposition took to Twitter to share photos of him and local butcher Macca Halal Foods (pictured) delivering the food in Flemington

The former leader of the opposition took to Twitter to share photos of him and local butcher Macca Halal Foods (pictured) delivering the food in Flemington

Bill Shorten is seen at 120 Racecourse Road Commission flat housing in Flmeington after delivering care packages

Bill Shorten is seen at 120 Racecourse Road Commission flat housing in Flmeington after delivering care packages

‘Community at its best,’ Mr Shorten tweeted.

‘Thanks to local butcher Macca Halal Foods, these care packages have made it to the Flemington Towers.’  

Images show Mr Shorten wearing a face mask and carrying boxes of supplies to and from buildings.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the towers have almost doubled, from 27 on Sunday to 53 on Monday from about 400 tests, as testing ramps up and police continue to patrol entrances and corridors.

The state government says it has distributed 3,000 meals, 1,000 food hampers and 250 personal care packs to residents.

Meanwhile charity FareShare has provided more than 3,000 prepared meals and 4,500 pastries.

The government is also delivering bread and milk to residents after the staples were missing from hampers on Sunday.

There are concerns thousands of residents locked in the towers still haven't received enough food and supplies, so Mr Shorten took it upon himself to deliver supplies on Monday

There are concerns thousands of residents locked in the towers still haven’t received enough food and supplies, so Mr Shorten took it upon himself to deliver supplies on Monday

Former leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten is seen talking to someone outside public housing towers in Flemington

Former leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten is seen talking to someone outside public housing towers in Flemington

Abdirahman Ibrahim, who lives in the Racecourse Road tower, told AAP his family is yet to receive a box of groceries, but they have received formula and one litre of milk.

Ahmed Dini, a resident of a North Melbourne tower and a social worker, told ABC News Breakfast some residents hadn’t received groceries as of Monday morning.

Residents have shared images on social media of out-of-date meals, food left on the floor and Muslim families given pork.

Victorian Council of Social Services CEO Emma King said she was concerned culturally appropriate meals were not being provided by the government.

‘We need to make sure we’re hearing directly from the residents on the estate around what they need and making sure we deliver on that,’ she told AAP.

A sign stuck to the window of a person trapped inside the housing commission flats in Flemington on Monday

A sign stuck to the window of a person trapped inside the housing commission flats in Flemington on Monday

Images show Mr Shorten wearing a face mask and carrying boxes of supplies to and from buildings on Monday

Images show Mr Shorten wearing a face mask and carrying boxes of supplies to and from buildings on Monday

Police patrol the housing commission flats at 120 Racecourse Road in Flemington on Monday

Police patrol the housing commission flats at 120 Racecourse Road in Flemington on Monday 

Ms King also noted residents were given copies of the public health orders or ‘detention directives’ on Sunday night, sparking confusion over the term of the lockdown which could last as long as 14 days.

‘Any of us, to have police on your doorstep, handing a detention notice we can’t understand, it would be really frightening,’ she said.

‘It is a very fine, precarious balance. We need to save lives first and foremost but we need to make sure people get the support that they need and they aren’t terrified through the process.’

Premier Daniel Andrews said he wanted to reassure everyone in the towers they would be looked after.

Angry tower residents place signs in their windows showing messages of despair amid a full and total lockdown of 9 housing commission high rise towers in North Melbourne and Flemington

Angry tower residents place signs in their windows showing messages of despair amid a full and total lockdown of 9 housing commission high rise towers in North Melbourne and Flemington 

Towers in the suburbs of Flemington (pictured), Kensington and North Melbourne will be closed for five days

Towers in the suburbs of Flemington (pictured), Kensington and North Melbourne will be closed for five days

‘There are literally hundreds and thousands of people working – from police to social workers, to nurses and doctors, all the way through to people working in our supermarkets, people working in commercial kitchens … they are all doing their absolute best,’ he said.

He added halal meals have been handed out by the Victorian Trades Hall in partnership with social enterprise Moving Feast.

Sikh organisations have also set up outside the towers, offering hot vegetarian meals to residents.

Sikh Volunteers Australia vice president Manpreet Singh said they were serving fresh vegetarian meals, bringing about 650 serves from their Cranbourne base.

‘Nearly 400 meals we have already served (by about 7pm),’ he said on Sunday.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has been preparing 2,000 culturally appropriate meals it plans to hand out in the coming days. 

Food supplies are delivered to the Flemington Towers Government Housing complex on Monday amid complaints from those trapped inside

Food supplies are delivered to the Flemington Towers Government Housing complex on Monday amid complaints from those trapped inside 

Protestors holding signs in protest gathered outside commission flats in lockdown on Monday

Protestors holding signs in protest gathered outside commission flats in lockdown on Monday

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