The City of Melbourne has moved away from introducing new by-laws, which include penalties to keep rough sleepers from city streets, in a decision welcomed by the homelessness sector.
Instead the council and Victoria Police have announced a formal operating protocol to “prevent and remove group encampments in the city” – backing down from introducing fines and other penalties to force homeless people out of the city.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the protocol had been trialled over the past five months following clashes with protesters during attempts to remove a makeshift camp outside Flinders Street Station in January this year.
“This protocol ensures we can act swiftly, comprehensively and within existing laws in collaboration with Victoria Police to remove group encampments that affect public safety and amenity, while also ensuring that the most vulnerable people have access to the services they need,” Doyle said.
“City of Melbourne compliance officers and Victoria Police have assured me that this protocol is working well and we have now formalised these arrangements.”
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