The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on every Australian, directly or indirectly, including in Victoria where a second period of lockdowns and restrictions is in effect.

This includes the Victorian Government currently restricting the movements of people living in 12 postcodes across Melbourne, and locking down nine sites across three public housing estates.

We know from decades of work with people in public housing estates and marginalised communities, as well as our research into locational disadvantage, Dropping Off The Edge, conducted over more than 20 years, that some of the postcodes currently impacted by restrictions are among the most disadvantaged communities in Victoria.

Jesuit Social Services acknowledges the significant impact these restrictions have on the physical and mental wellbeing of those directly impacted, and we thank all those making sacrifices to keep people safe during this unprecedented public health crisis.

We stand in solidarity with all those impacted, including currently impacted by restrictions and lockdowns, those who are and have been diagnosed with COVID-19, those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and the frontline and emergency personnel performing challenging roles in the name of public health.

Jesuit Social Services works with a number of people and families who are directly impacted by restrictions in public housing estates.

We know that some people living in these estates have experienced complex forms of disadvantage including abuse and trauma, mental illness, substance abuse problems and family violence.

It is imperative that the rights and dignity of each affected individual are paramount in decision-making during this time. It is vital that residents have access to a range of health and social services as well as material aide to help them through this challenging time.

We acknowledge the state’s leaders have made these difficult decisions to keep people safe, including those living in these affected areas and the broader community.

Supporting our vulnerable communities and acknowledging their sacrifices during this time is necessary for the public health of all Victorians.