Department of Health

Settlement of Towers class action

Supreme Court of Victoria (S ECI 2021 00826).

Court approval of the settlement

In March 2021, Mr Idris Hassan and Ms Hawa Warsame (the plaintiffs) commenced a class action against the State of Victoria to challenge the ‘lockdown’ of people in the nine public housing towers in North Melbourne and Flemington listed below between 4 July and 18 July 2020.

  • 9 Pampas Street, North Melbourne
  • 159 Melrose Street, North Melbourne
  • 76 Canning Street, North Melbourne
  • 12 Sutton Street, North Melbourne
  • 120 Racecourse Road, Flemington
  • 126 Racecourse Road, Flemington
  • 130 Racecourse Road, Flemington
  • 12 Holland Court, Flemington
  • 33 Alfred Street, North Melbourne.

The plaintiffs and the State of Victoria have agreed to resolve this class action so that money is paid to eligible Group Members of the class action. This is called a settlement. On 17 August 2023 the settlement was approved by the Supreme Court.

Annexure A - Settlement Distribution Scheme, sets out how the settlement scheme will operate including:

  • what information the Administrator can request registered Group Members provide to verify their eligibility to participate in the settlement;
  • how the registered Group Members’ eligibility will be verified;
  • what notifications the Administrator will send to registered Group Members; and
  • how the settlement sum will be distributed to Eligible Group Members.

See Settlement Distribution Scheme in your language.

The time to register to participate in the settlement, which was extended twice, has now closed.

As many Group Members have submitted multiple claims, deduplication of claims is being conducted. Group Members who have submitted multiple claims will be advised which claim will be reviewed for eligibility to participate in the settlement. Only one claim will be reviewed for eligibility.

Some Group Members who have registered to participate in the settlement may be contacted by email to provide further information to verify their eligibility. Group members who are contacted to provide further information will be requested to provide any one of the following types of information:

  • a statutory declaration declaring that the Group Member was a resident of or a visitor to the lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020;
  • driver's licence or learners permit showing the name and lockdown address of the Group Member during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020;
  • residential lease in Group Member’s name for the lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020;
  • telephone, electricity, internet, gas invoices or bank statements addressed to the Group Member at the lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020; or
  • Medicare or Centrelink correspondence, documents or notices addressed to the Group Member at the lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020.

The information requested should be uploaded within 21 days of the email request using the link provided to keep the information provided secure. Group Members who want to upload more than one document, should upload documents together as the link requires a one-time submission of documents. Please do not send information or documents by return email.

The information provided will be used to determine a Group Member’s eligibility to participate in the settlement.

Group Members will be notified whether their claim is considered to be eligible or ineligible to participate in the settlement once all claims have been reviewed.

Payments will only be made to eligible Group Members when the eligibility of all registered group members has been reviewed and determined.

Translated versions

Settlement Distribution Scheme

Your questions answered

  • No. Not all Group Members registered to participate in the Settlement will be contacted to provide further information. Group Members will only be contacted to provide further information where necessary to determine their eligibility to participate in the Settlement.

  • Review of all registered claims is underway. As claims are reviewed, Group Members that need to provide further information will be contacted by email.

    Not all Group Members registered to participate in the Settlement will be contacted to provide further information. Group Members will only be contacted to provide further information where necessary to determine their eligibility to participate in the Settlement.

  • Group members who are contacted to provide further information will be requested to provide any one of the following types of documents:

    • a statutory declaration declaring that the Group Member was a resident of or a visitor to the lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020. For information about statutory declarations and a downloaded template statutory declaration, see Statutory declarationsExternal Link on the Justice and Community website;
    • driver's licence or learner’s permit showing the name and lockdown address of the Group Member during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020;
    • residential lease in Group Member’s name for the lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020;
    • telephone, electricity, internet or gas invoices or bank statements addressed to the Group Member at the lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020; or
    • Medicare or Centrelink correspondence, documents or notices addressed to the Group Member at the lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020.
  • No. The Administrator only requires one valid document that evidences a Group Member’s eligibility to participate in the Settlement. The types of documents listed in the Request for Further Information are examples of the sorts of documents that may evidence this.

    Group Members may choose to provide more than one document. Group Members submitting more than one document must upload all documents before pushing the submit button. The link provides a one-time submission function.

  • No, your Medicare card is not enough to support an application as a Group Member as it does show an address.

    Correspondence, documents or notices from Medicare that show your residential lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020 would be enough to support an application.

  • If a parent or guardian receives a Request for Further Information in relation to a Group Member that is a child or a PUD, they can provide one or more of the following documents in support:

    • a statutory declaration stating that the child or PUD was a resident or a visitor of a lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020. For information about statutory declarations and a downloaded template statutory declaration, see Statutory declarationsExternal Link on the Justice and Community website;
    • MyGov Immunisation record which shows the child’s or PUD’s name, date of birth and lockdown address (if a resident); or
    • some other form of official documentation that proves that the child or PUD was a resident or visitor of a lockdown address between 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020.
  • Up to 15 documents can be submitted subject to a total limit of 10mb for all documents (not per document).

    As the link provides a one-time submission, all documents should be uploaded before pushing the submit button.

  • If you submitted documents and want to provide further documents and are still within the allocated time to do so, notify the Administrator via email at COVID-19-Towers@health.vic.gov.au. The Administrator will then arrange for a new link to be sent to you.

  • The link in emails containing a Request for Further Information sent to Group Members prior to 2.15pm on 29 December 2023 contained an error preventing Group Members from accessing the link and submitting documents.

    The issue was fixed and all Group Members who received a Request for Further Information with a link that did not work have been sent another Request for Further Information. Please check your inbox and spam folder for the additional email.

    If you experience issues with a link in a Request for Further Information sent after 2.15pm on 29 December 2023, please notify the Administrator at COVID-19-Towers@health.vic.gov.au.

  • You can upload PDF, PNG and JPG files.

  • There is a total size limit of 10mb for all documents uploaded (not per document).

  • The link contained in a Request for Further Information provides a one-time submission. This means that once you click submit, the link will close. Group Members submitting more than one document should upload all documents before pushing the submit button.

    If you submitted documents but want to provide further documents, notify the Administrator via email at COVID-19-Towers@health.vic.gov.au. The Administrator will then arrange for a new link to be sent to you.

  • No. The deadline for submission of claims as ordered and then extended by the Supreme Court was 15 November 2023. No further claims can be accepted now.

  • Where a claim you submitted covered more than one person, each person included in that claim has now been assigned an individual claim number and each person’s claim is being considered on an individual basis.

    If you receive an email with a Request for Further Information in relation to a claim for yourself, or for a child or person under a disability that you are the guardian of, you must provide the requested further information relevant to that specific person (i.e., yourself, the child or the person under a disability).

  • The best and most secure way to submit documents is to upload them via the secure link emailed to you. However, if you want to post documents please post them to:

    The Administrator
    c/- COVID 19 Legal
    50 Lonsdale Street
    Melbourne VIC 3000

    Please ensure that any documents sent by post are posted before the deadline for the provision of those materials set out in the Request for Further Information.

  • The Department of Health does not have access to leases held by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH). If you intend to rely on your lease as evidence that you were in the Towers at the time of the lockdown you need to provide a copy of that lease or a letter from DFFH advising you were a tenant during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020.

    It is also open to you to rely on another type of document to demonstrate that you, a child or a person under disability were a tenant or at a Towers lockdown address during 4 – 9 July 2020. Other types of documents you may submit include:

    • a statutory declaration stating that you (or a child or person under disability) were a resident or a visitor of a lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020. For information about statutory declarations and a downloaded template statutory declaration, see Statutory declarationsExternal Link on the Justice and Community website;
    • a MyGov Immunisation record which shows your (or a child or person under disability’s) name, date of birth and lockdown address (if a resident); or
    • a driver's licence or learner’s permit showing your name (or that of a child or person under disability) and lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020;
    • a telephone, electricity, internet or gas invoice or a bank statement addressed to you at the lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020; or
    • Medicare, Centrelink, ATO or AEC correspondence, documents or notices addressed to you (or a child or person under disability) the Group Member at the lockdown address during 4 July 2020 – 9 July 2020.
  • There is no way for a Group Member to access their online claim to vary bank account details. For your security, the Administrator cannot accept a request from a Group Member to change the bank details via email.

    Where a Group Member needs to update their bank details, they can do so by providing:

    • a copy of a bank statement for the new account which shows the Group Member’s name, address and new account details (account holder name, BSB and account number); and
    • a short note signed by the Group Member stating that they wish to change their bank details in their registered claim to the following account: Account holder, BSB, account number.

    The note and a copy of the statement must be sent via post (not email) to:

    The Administrator
    c/- COVID 19 Legal
    50 Lonsdale Street
    Melbourne VIC 3000

    Group Members can redact (black out using a marker) financial information in the bank statement, such as account balances and details of funds coming in and out of the account.

Reviewed 31 January 2024

Health.vic

Contact for assistance and information

Obtain assistance and information about the settlement by contacting the solicitors for the plaintiffs.

Clemens Haskin Legal

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