New rough sleeping protocol signed

The City of Melbourne has quietly backed away from its controversial proposal to tackle rough sleeping via amending its local laws dealing with camping.

Instead, on September 26 it announced an agreed protocol with Victoria Police which it believes can address rough sleeping within current law.

The protocol, under the current Activities Local Law 2009, allows homeless people to keep their belongings “to a reasonable minimum”, with two carry bags, a blanket, sleeping bag or pillow.

Camps, including structures such as mattresses, furniture and tents, will still be removed by the council.

Belongings left behind, which have impact on amenity and public space use, will also be removed.

In January, during the Australian Open, Victoria Police and council impounded homeless camps outside Flinders Street Station, removing camping structures and making several arrests.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the council could better tackle homelessness under current local laws.

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