The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) today has demanded an improvement to the response by the ACT Government and Canberra Health Services to the COVID-19 outbreak at Condamine Court public housing complex.
ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said: “ACTCOSS has been speaking with community sector organisations working on the ground at Condamine Court. We have heard distressing reports that the basic needs of vulnerable residents are not being met. Residents are short of food, medicine and hygiene items. Many also lack reliable access to reliable communications including phones and internet.
“Condamine Court residents include older Canberrans, people with disabilities and others with complex health needs. Despite a lack of access to decent food and appropriate medical support, residents continue to do the right thing and abide by strict quarantine regulations.
“We must address the holistic health needs of people quarantining in Condamine Court. If we do not do so with urgency, the consequences will be extreme, for those in isolation, but also for the broader Canberran public. We need to approach this situation with empathy and evidence-based health services.
“Public housing tenants have the same rights to dignity, safety and healthcare as everyone else. It is incumbent upon the ACT Government to work with the community sector to provide the services and supports that people need, and to do so immediately.
“ACTCOSS is disappointed that promises made last week by the ACT Government to support tenants during the quarantine period have not been kept. Communication with the sector and with services on the ground at the public housing complex has been poor.
“At the onset of the pandemic last year, ACTCOSS and its members raised serious concerns about possible outbreaks in public housing settings with ACT housing and other government departments. We were, and remain deeply concerned about highly vulnerable residents, particularly in Condamine Court.
“It’s clear that we have not been listened to and lessons from other jurisdictions have not been learned,” said Dr Campbell.
For more information or comment, please contact
Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617