The decision to immediately impose a hard lockdown on such buildings caught the residents unprepared and prevented some of them from getting the food or medicines needed.
In July 2020 about 3’000 people living in nine public housing towers in Melbourne were suddenly forced not to leave their homes under police control. This rushed lockdown imposed by the State of Victoria was later deemed in contrast with the residents’ human rights – including the right to humane treatment when deprived of liberty – by the Ombudsman. Indeed, the decision to immediately impose a hard lockdown on such buildings caught the residents unprepared and prevented some of them from getting the food or medicines needed. Moreover, strict police surveillance made them “feel like criminals”. According to the Ombudsman, the Government had at least to apologise for the "harm and distress caused by the immediacy of their lockdown".
The State of Victoria did not acknowledge any liability and claimed that the measures imposed were legitimate to contrast the spread of the Coronavirus. However, it agreed to settle with the public housing tower’s residents who, meanwhile, had started a class action against it.
On the 17th of August 2023, the Supreme Court of Victoria approved the settlement. The State of Victoria will have to compensate the Melbourne public housing tower inhabitants forced to lockdown with a total of 5 million dollars.