While most states got thousands of people sleeping rough off the streets during COVID-19, Western Australia wound back its response

The thin walls of Neville Riley’s makeshift tent don’t do much to block the constant sound of passing cars and trains.

His is one of about 30 tents set up on a patch of sandy soil on the outskirts of Perth’s CBD, bordered by an overpass, a stormwater drain and the railway tracks.

On a wall nearby are the words: “Welcome to Tent City.”

“No other name we could come up with,” said Mr Riley.

A 45-year-old with arms covered in prison tattoos, Mr Riley said it is not safe in Tent City.

“It gets cold, you got rubbish lying around, we got no bins down here — not even toilets for the ladies to go to the toilet, there’s no washbasins of no sort.”

“It’s just like living in the jungle with no security of any sort at all.”

When the pandemic hit Australia, most states got thousands of people sleeping rough off the streets and into emergency accommodation like hotels and backpackers’ hostels.

But when the virus failed to gain a foothold in WA, the State Government wound back its response. It stopped looking for emergency COVID-19 accommodation in places like hotels and rec centres for people like Mr Riley.

Neville Riley said he did not feel safe at the camp.(ABC News: Alex Mann)

WA Minister for Community Services Simone McGurk said her Government’s response was more of a trial.

“We were ready to do more but we didn’t need to,” she said.

“It was really a health response to make sure that we had eyes on whether that would be effective if we needed to get people off the street quickly.”

But leaked correspondence seen by the ABC’s Background Briefing program shows how many of the state’s NGOs believe that response was an incredible missed opportunity.

Email called the response ‘reactionary and uncoordinated’

Tent City is the place that put homelessness on Perth city’s political agenda but it’s just the most visible sign of a problem that’s been simmering in towns across WA for years.

There are more than 15,000 households on the public housing waiting list in WA.

A few years ago, that number went down but it’s on the rise again this year.

Mr Riley said he’s been waiting 5 years.

“You forget about things like that there because you’re waiting too long,” he said.

“How long are we going to wait for? Why do we put ourselves in a newspaper? Why do we talk to the media? Why? Because we’re homeless.”

When COVID-19 hit Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, more than 7,000 people were given shelter.

Those cities’ councils and state governments used the pandemic to rethink their approach to homelessness.

But in Perth, just 24 people were placed in a CBD hotel, while another 47 were put up in a youth and recreation centre.

In one letter co-signed by 22 organisations working in the homelessness sector from April this year, the response is labelled “reactionary and uncoordinated and not informed by the collaborative work undertaken in good faith”.

One of the signatories was Amanda Hunt, the CEO of Uniting Care West.

“We were agitating for radical change because of the old adage [about] an opportunity and a crisis, thinking that, you know, perhaps if we thought differently, we could actually come up with a solution that hadn’t been thought of before,” she said.

“At the time, we were all feeling like there had to be a better way.”

That sentiment was reiterated one month later, in another letter seen by Background Briefing, by representatives from Shelter WA and the WA Alliance to End Homelessness.

“It [is] telling that it has been the comparable Departments of Communities and/or Housing in QLD, NSW, VIC and Adelaide that have proactively facilitated hundreds and hundreds of rough sleepers to get off the street, fast-tracked strategies funded and put in place to then secure longer-term housing options,” the letter reads.

Its authors warned they were witnessing an escalation of anxiety and mental health issues in those sleeping rough — and it wasn’t good enough for the Government to blame a lack of available accommodation.

“We [are] concerned that the current position of government is not to take people off the streets unless there are housing options they can go to.

“We noted your comment that this position has been crafted in part as a response to the acute shortage of social housing.

“This is a challenge other states face also, but the re-purposing of vacant accommodation, fast-tracking of repairs to vacant public housing and innovations such as rental subsidy are among measures that are being rolled out.”

Ms Hunt said they wanted the State Government to take the next step.

“What we really wanted was a commitment to more housing.”

The WA State Government recently announced new spending to build and repair public housing.

But at the same time, it’s also demolishing old ones.

Since Labor came to power in March 2017, the total number of available houses actually went backwards by more than 1,000.

“That has been an absolute challenge,” said Ms McGurk.

Labor Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk.
Minister for Community Services Simone McGurk said the WA Government remained focused on long-term solutions to homelessness.(ABC News: Andrew O’Connor)

“Some of the areas where we’ve decommissioned some of the housing stock is because it was so old and completely unacceptable.”

It means that although the Government is investing in addressing homelessness, it’s still struggling to provide long-term housing solutions for people like those shacked up in tents next to the train line.

“I’m confident that with our housing-first policy, with new builds in social and public housing and working in partnership with the community sector, we can start to make a difference,” said Ms McGurk.

“Having said that, people who are street-present and the sort of congregations or tent cities which we’re seeing in East Perth at the moment aren’t acceptable.”

“They’re not safe for people there, they’re not safe for the public.”

“If need be, [the Government would look at] emergency accommodation for those people. So they’ve got a safe place, a roof over their heads and the proper supports that they need.”

Falling through eviction moratorium gaps

If Tent City is the most visible sign of homelessness in WA, forced evictions are one of its hidden causes.

After COVID-19 arrived, the State Government put in place a moratorium on evictions from private and public housing.

In spite of this, people were still being forced from their public housing homes.

Dorinda Abraham was one of those facing eviction.

Dorinda and Margaret Abraham, Dorinda left is wearing a black hoodie and smiling.
Dorinda Abraham and her sister Margaret are living together after Margaret was forced to leave her home.(ABC News: Alex Mann)

Lately, life for Ms Abraham and her extended family has become much more complicated.

A few months ago, her two sisters Hayley and Margaret moved into her house along with their kids.

They were escaping violent partners and had been evicted from their own houses.

Now, 13 people are living in her house.

On top of that, after a long series of neighbourhood complaints, the WA Department of Housing served Dorinda with an eviction notice.

Hayley, left, and Margaret, right, standing against the wall of the house they have now moved into.
Hayley and Margaret, sisters of Dorinda Abrahams, have moved into the house with their children.(ABC News: Alex Mann)

Ms Abraham decided to fight it in court and on Wednesday had her case adjourned until next year.

“I just been very stressed and thinking, what’s going to happen? Am I going to lose my home and what’s going to happen with my kids and stuff?” she told Background Briefing.

Jesse Noakes, a legal advocate who has represented both Ms Abraham and her sister Margaret in their fight against eviction, said her case is still very much up in the air.

“I would hate to see the same thing [as happened to her sisters] happen in Dorinda’s case,” said Mr Noakes.

“It would be the third sister in three years to lose her home to a three-strikes eviction, and this time they’d all be out on the street.”

“It would really be ‘three strikes, you’re out’ in this case.”

The three-strikes rule

In recent years, WA has evicted tenants from around 600 public housing properties per annum.

Most of those are for unpaid rent but others are for disruptive behaviour, under what’s called a three-strikes eviction policy.

But finding a new place will be near impossible for anyone who loses their home.

An aerial shot of the inner-city Perth suburb of Mount Hawthorn
Perth’s housing market has become competitive as people return to the city.(ABC News: Gian De Poloni)

With COVID-19 under control, the economy back up and running, and sections of the mining industry at full steam, there’s been an influx of people returning to Perth.

“We’ve got a private rental market that is at an all-time low. The vacancy rate is approaching just 1 per cent. Listings are down more than 50 per cent on this time last year.”

Racism and discrimination have also been found to be widespread in the private rental market.

“So for people who are already locked out or who are facing the door like Margaret and Dorinda, trying to get back inside anytime soon is like climbing Everest with a blindfold for an Aboriginal family to access the property market in WA at the moment.”

Betsy Buchanan, a veteran advocate and a colleague of Jesse Noakes, said if the Government is serious about addressing the problem of homelessness, the first step should be stopping the evictions.

“The Government evicts hundreds of people every year and with Aboriginal people, that would be dozens and ultimately thousands of children.

“That just creates a crisis that’s just rolling on and rolling on”, she said.

The WA Department of Housing said in a statement that it doesn’t comment on individual cases and that it doesn’t keep statistics on the overall number of children evicted from public housing.

Betsy Buchanan says that’s not good enough.

“How can you possibly end homelessness when you’ve got a department that is supposed to be housing people, that is basically committed to un-housing them?”

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Australia Post hired $3000-a-day reputation manager as it wound back deliveries

It followed an announcement that Labor and the Greens would seek to overturn temporary regulatory powers granted to Australia Post by the Morrison government to allow letters to be delivered in metropolitan areas every second day, rather than every day, remove the priority mail product and extend delivery time for intrastate letters to five days.


Australia Post said on Monday that Domestique was still engaged but not on an ongoing retainer, and “provided advice on an ad hoc basis”.

The nation’s mail delivery service has provided the information to a Senate committee in response to a series of questions regarding its financial management but has refused to break down how much of its money was spent.

Australia Post’s admission comes amid the organisation’s warnings that Australians should prepare to post their Christmas parcels up to six weeks in advance to ensure gifts arrive in time as it deals with massive backlogs at delivery centres.

Ms Holgate and some of Australia Post’s senior executives are set to be grilled at Senate estimates next week following a string of scandals surrounding personal bonuses payments, intervention over One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s unsolicited mailout of stubby holders to public housing residents and massive delays to services.

Labor government accountability spokeswoman Kimberley Kitching said Ms Holgate brought in Mr Thornton to defend the indefensible.

“He’s being paid $3000 a day. Mr Thornton is lucky there’s electronic transfer of funds – otherwise if the cheque was in the mail from Australia Post, he’d know he’d be waiting quite a while,” she said.

Australia Post also declared Ms Holgate’s personal corporate credit card bill for the past financial year totalled $29,298, which was used for gifts, meals and travel expenses among other expenses. But a second card issued for Ms Holgate’s office, which employs two people, totalled $287,063.44 for the same timeframe.


It said providing an itemised breakdown of the charges would be an “unreasonable diversion of resources” but purchases broadly included flowers, gifts, meals, travel, venue hire, magazines and professional services.

“Australia Post’s Melbourne headquarters have been closed for several months, due to the COVID-19 lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne,” it said.

“As a result, Melbourne office staff have been working remotely and access to some records has been restricted. This has impacted on the retrieval and review of records.”

The organisation also admitted Ms Holgate used a chauffeur-driven car service for work-related transport including between the office, the airport, accommodation, meeting locations and home.


“These services allow [Ms Holgate] … to travel safely and securely – often at early or late hours – and provide a confidential environment in which to work on Australia Post matters while in transit,” it said.

Ms Holgate and her senior legal counsel were lashed by a bipartisan parliamentary committee in August for attempting to avoid scrutiny over the future of service delivery and urged to complete basic training in accountability to meet their responsibilities to taxpayers.

A damning report found some responses provided by Australia Post to senators’ questions failed to grasp the responsibility of a publicly owned entity to be accountable to “the people of Australia through the Parliament and its committee system”.

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Melbourne public housing tenant says Pauline Hanson stubby cooler sent during lockdown was ‘salt in the wound’

A Melbourne public housing tenant says it’s disappointing to learn One Nation stubby holders were sent to his locked-down estate just after Pauline Hanson labelled residents “drug addicts” on TV.

It’s been revealed Ms Hanson attempted to send the merchandise to residents of some of the towers after her appearance on breakfast television, in which she labelled them “drug addicts” and “alcoholics”.

At the height of the controversial hard lockdown of nine public housing towers in Melbourne, Senator Hanson made the comments on Channel Nine’s Today Show — which then cancelled her regular guest appearances.

Soon after, Ms Hanson posted residents of some of the towers a One Nation branded stubby holder, with the line “I’ve got the guts to say what you’re thinking” printed on the outside, along with a handwritten note saying, “No hard feelings”.

The 114 parcels were addressed “to the householder”, but never made it to the residents in the towers.

Tower resident Girmay Mengesha said it was a “disappointing” move by the Senator — but he was uncomfortable that an external party may have taken the decision to block the delivery.

It is understood the One Nation stubby cooler was sent to 114 residents in Melbourne’s locked down towers.(One Nation)

“I don’t believe anyone would have read that stubby holder, or used that stubby holder. Personally I would have thrown it in the bin,” he said.

“It feels like salt in the wound, because it’s not an apology,” Mr Mengesha said.

“It was disappointing. It’s not what I expect from our politicians, especially during a crisis.”

The ABC contacted Senator Hanson’s office for comment, but was referred to a tweet where Ms Hanson labelled it “a storm in a stubby cooler”.


Complaint lodged with AFP over Pauline Hanson stubby holders

The Age newspaper has today printed parts of an email from Australia Post lawyer Nick Macdonald to City of Melbourne CEO Justin Hanney, sent on Saturday, July 11.

In it, Mr Macdonald raises concerns the parcels are “being withheld from the addressees”.

“We understand that the Parcels were properly delivered by Australia Post on Thursday morning, in accordance with the arrangements in place under lock down restrictions.

“Specifically, the Parcels were delivered to the Command Post Foyer at the building, after Australia Post staff received a clear assurance that the Parcels would then be promptly distributed by Command Post staff to the addressees.

“Please confirm by 4pm today that the Parcels have been distributed to the Addressees.

“If we do not receive confirmation, we will consider what further steps are necessary to deal with this situation — including whether it is appropriate to notify the Police or other relevant authorities.”

In a statement today, Australia Post said it delivered the parcels to the site control centre, which was being run by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the City of Melbourne, and raised the issue when they weren’t delivered.

“Upon subsequently being made aware that the items did not reach their ultimate destination, we raised it with the City of Melbourne and engaged with the sender in good faith to resolve the matter,” the statement said.

Mr Hanney said in a statement that the council consulted with Australia Post and lodged a complaint with the Australian Federal Police to investigate whether the generically addressed, identical parcels breached the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Mr Hanney said that once the City of Melbourne stopped being responsible for deliveries to the estate it requested Australia Post collect the parcels, and withdrew its complaint to the AFP.

The ABC understands that on advice from community leaders a decision was made not to hand out the stubby holders in the towers.

It is understood the gift was viewed as culturally insensitive and would have inflamed an already volatile situation.

The ABC has been told that providing medical supplies, appropriate food and goods to support the residents during the lockdown was given priority.

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Israel police wound Palestinian driver who attacked officers

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police said an officer shot and wounded a Palestinian driver who attempted to run over and stab Israeli security personnel in the West Bank on Wednesday.

The Israeli military said the man attempted to ram his car into a soldier and a police officer at an intersection near the West Bank city of Nablus. The police said in a statement that the officer shot the Palestinian after he came out of the vehicle and ran at the officers with a knife.

The soldier and the policeman were lightly wounded while the attacker was moderately wounded, the army said.

Security camera footage from the incident published by Israeli media showed a silver vehicle appearing to accelerate and collide with a parked police car.

Palestinians have carried out dozens of stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks on Israeli security personnel and civilians in recent years. Most were by lone Palestinian attackers with no apparent links to armed groups.

Palestinians and human rights groups have frequently accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force.

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UN agency laments summer’s ‘deep wound’ to Earth’s ice cover

The United Nations weather agency says this summer will go down for leaving a “deep wound” in the frozen parts of the planet after a heat wave in the Arctic, shrinking sea ice and the collapse of a leading Canadian ice shelf

GENEVA — The United Nations weather agency says this summer will go down for leaving a “deep wound” in the cryosphere — the planet’s frozen parts — amid a heat wave in the Arctic, shrinking sea ice and the collapse of a leading Canadian ice shelf.

The World Meteorological Organization said Tuesday that temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as the global average, provoking what spokeswoman Clare Nullis called a “vicious circle.”

“The rapid decline of sea ice in turn contributes to more warming, and so the circle goes on and the consequences do not stay in the Arctic,” Nullis said during a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva.

The weather agency said in a statement that many new temperature records have been set in recent months, including in the Russian town of Verkhoyansk. The town, located in Siberia above the Arctic Circle line, reached 38 degrees Celsius (100 F) on June 20.

“What we saw in Siberia this year was exceptionally bad, was exceptionally severe,” Nullis said. She noted a heat wave across the Arctic, r ecord-breaking wildfires in Siberia, nearly record-low sea ice extent, and the collapse of one of the last fully intact Canadian ice shelves.

“The summer of 2020 will leave a deep wound on the cryosphere,” the World Meteorological Organization statement said, pointing to a “worrisome trend” of floods resulting from the outburst of glacier lakes that are becoming “an increased factor of high-risk in many parts of the world.”

In late July, an 81-square-kilometer (30-square-mile) section of Canada’s Milne ice shelf broke off, reducing the total area of the ice shelf by 43%, the weather agency said.

The consequences include the loss of a rare ecosystem, possible acceleration of glaciers sliding into the ocean and contributing to sea level rise, and creation of new “drifting ice islands,” it said.

The WMO is preparing to release on Sept. 9 a report on the impact of climate change on the cryosphere.


Follow AP’s climate coverage at https://apnews.com/Climate

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Two Huge Beirut Explosions Kill 50, Wound Thousands

Two enormous explosions rocked Beirut’s port on Tuesday, killing at least 27 people and wounding thousands, shaking distant buildings and leaving the Lebanese capital in fear and chaos.

The deafening second blast sent an enormous orange fireball into the sky, flattened the harbourside and sent a tornado-like shockwave ripping through the city, shattering windows kilometres away.

Bloodied casualties stumbled among debris and burning buildings across central Beirut as Health Minister Hamad Hassan reported an initial estimated toll of 27 dead and 2,500 injured, calling it “a disaster in every sense of the word”.

A soldier at the port told AFP: “It’s a catastrophe inside. There are corpses on the ground.”

Relatives of people who worked inside the blast zone gathered at a security cordon as they scrambled for news of their loved ones.

“Ambulances are still lifting the dead,” the soldier said.

A wounded man walks near the scene of the explosion in Beirut
 AFP / Anwar AMRO

The blasts were heard as far away as Nicosia on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 240 kilometres (150 miles) away.

Makrouhie Yerganian, a retired schoolteacher in her mid-70s who has lived near the port for decades, said it was “like an atomic bomb”.

“I’ve experienced everything, but nothing like this before,” even during the country’s 1975-1990 civil war, she said.

The blast which rattled entire buildings was felt across the city and far beyond

The blast which rattled entire buildings was felt across the city and far beyond
 AFP / Anwar AMRO

“All the buildings around here have collapsed. I’m walking through glass and debris everywhere, in the dark.”

The country’s Red Cross reported “hundreds of wounded” and called for urgent blood donations.

The cause of the explosions was not immediately known but a top official, General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim, said confiscated explosive materials had been stored at the city’s port.

“It appears that there is a warehouse containing material that was confiscated years ago, and it appears that it was highly explosive material,” he said.

A woman in the city centre told AFP: "It felt like an earthquake

A woman in the city centre told AFP: “It felt like an earthquake”
 AFP / Anwar AMRO

An Israeli government who requested anonymity told AFP: “Israel had nothing to do with the incident.”

Benjamin Strick, who works with investigations website Bellingcat, said on Twitter that the explosions appeared to have been centred on a 130-metre (420 foot)-long grey warehouse alongside a dock inside the port zone.

Retired US nuclear scientist Cheryl Rofer wrote on Twitter that the “red cloud” of the massive blast was “very likely ammonium nitrate”, a common agricultural fertiliser that is a highly explosive compound.

A woman in the city centre told AFP: "It felt like an earthquake

A woman in the city centre told AFP: “It felt like an earthquake”
 AFP / Anwar AMRO

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun called for “urgent” defence council talks, while Prime Minister Hasan Diab declared Wednesday a day of mourning.

The blast which rattled entire buildings was felt across the city and far beyond

The blast which rattled entire buildings was felt across the city and far beyond
 AFP / Anwar AMRO

AFP video footage of the aftermath of the blasts showed areas of near-complete devastation, with cars flipped onto their roofs like children’s toys, and warehouses flattened.

Soldiers tried to clear the streets of dazed civilians, some of them drenched from head to toe in their own blood.

Volunteers led stunned survivors away to seek medical help, using their shirts as makeshift bandages to staunch deep gashes on their faces and bodies.

“We heard an explosion, then we saw the mushroom,” said a Beirut resident who witnessed the second, deafening explosion from her balcony in the city’s Mansourieh district.

“The force of the blast threw us backwards into the apartment.”

An AFP correspondent at the scene minutes after the blast said every shop in the Hamra commercial district had sustained damage, with entire storefronts destroyed, windows shattered and many cars wrecked.

Outside the Clemenceau Medical Centre, dozens of wounded people, many covered in blood, were rushing to be admitted to the centre, including children.

A huge blaze sent up black smoke from the port area, as helicopters dumped water on burning buildings. A ship moored off the port was on fire.

The port zone was cordoned off by the security forces, allowing access only to a string of ambulances, fire trucks with wailing sirens and relatives of workers who had been inside.

Hundreds immediately shared their shock and grief on social media.

“Buildings are shaking,” tweeted one resident, while another wrote: “An enormous, deafening explosion just engulfed Beirut. Heard it from miles away.”

Online footage from a Lebanese newspaper office showed blown out windows, scattered furniture and demolished interior panelling.

The explosions hit a country already reeling from its worst economic crisis in decades which has left nearly half of the population in poverty, as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

Lebanon’s economy has collapsed in recent months, with the local currency plummeting, businesses closing en masse and poverty soaring at the same alarming rate as unemployment.

The explosions also came three days before a UN tribunal’s verdict on the murder of former Lebanese premier Rafic Hariri, killed in a huge 2005 truck bomb attack.

Four alleged members of the Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah are on trial in absentia at the court in The Hague over the huge Beirut bombing that killed Sunni billionaire Hariri and 21 other people.

A woman in the city centre Tuesday told AFP the blast “felt like an earthquake” and “bigger than the explosion in the assassination of Rafic Hariri in 2005”.

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Geelong’s Jack Steven continues recovery in hospital after suffering chest wound

The Geelong Football Club says Jack Steven is “very lucky” to have avoided a more serious injury after he sustained a chest wound during an incident on Saturday night.

Victoria Police are investigating the incident after Steven presented to hospital with a non-life-threatening injury at the weekend.

Steven is recovering in Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital, having been transferred from Cabrini Hospital.

Geelong’s general manager of football, Simon Lloyd, said Steven was fortunate not to require any further surgery.

“Our medical team have spoken to the trauma doctors at the Alfred and where he received the injury was under the right thoracic, so in his chest,” he said.

“Jack’s very lucky as we speak. He’s recovering, he doesn’t require any further operation or exploratory surgery so that’s a real positive in what is not great circumstances.”

Lloyd said the Cats were only concerned about Steven’s condition at the moment, rather than when he might be able to return to training.

“We’re not even thinking about that [a training return] at this present point in time,” he said.

“Since he’s arrived at the Geelong Football Club he hasn’t missed a beat and he’s training really well and he’s been in great spirits and he’s really popular.

“Really, now we need to give him the space that he needs during this point in time and hopefully he does have a quick recovery and then we’ll assess where we go from there.”

Steven, 30, is yet to play a match for the Cats.

Steven (centre) won four best and fairest awards at St Kilda.(AAP: Daniel Pockett)

He moved to the club during the off-season following a decorated stint at St Kilda.

Steven was drafted by the Saints in 2007 and played 183 senior matches for the club, winning the best and fairest award on four occasions.

The Cats players returned to training today ahead of the AFL’s scheduled season restart on June 11.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Geelong footballer Jack Steven recovering in hospital after suffering chest wound

Geelong midfielder Jack Steven is recovering in hospital after suffering a wound to the chest inflicted by a sharp object.

Hospital staff called police when Steven was admitted to hospital.

Victoria Police have confirmed detectives are investigating the incident.

Former Geelong captain Cameron Ling told ABC Grandstand Steven was not in a critical condition.

“The injury is certainly serious but not life threatening which is good news,” he said.

“But a really serious incident that Jack’s been involved in and we hope he’s OK.”

In response to questions from the ABC about Steven’s injuries, a Victoria Police spokesperson said Stonnington Crime Investigation Unit detectives were investigating after a 30-year-old Lorne man presented at a Melbourne hospital overnight with a non-life-threatening injury.

“Detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident and hope to speak to the victim again later today,” the spokesperson said.

Geelong Football Club said in a statement it did not know how the incident occurred.

“The club is aware that Jack Steven was injured in an incident last night,” the statement said.

“Jack is in hospital and recovering. The club’s concern is for Jack’s health and well being.

“The matter has been referred to police and until their investigations are completed the club will not be in position to offer further comment.”

Steven joined the Cats at the end of last season after 11 years with St Kilda Football Club.

He was one of the Saints’ best players, winning four best and fairest awards during his 11-year stint at the club.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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