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Melbourne City Council passes new laws essentially banning rough sleeping in the city

MML

New laws essentially banning rough sleeping in Melbourne have been passed during a rowdy council meeting.

They passed by the narrowest of margins – five to four – on Tuesday night.

The new laws expand the definition of camping, giving council officers and police the power not just to remove camping structures, but any unattended item in the city.

The owners of the items would have to pay a fee to get them back, or face having them sold or destroyed within two weeks.

The Melbourne City Council vote comes a week after ugly scenes on Flinders Street, with police finally moving on the rough sleepers because the area was due to become a construction site.

Greens councillors against the ban argued the laws will lead to unnecessary arrests and will just push the problem elsewhere.

The council agreed to look at further measures, such as lockers and safe spaces for the legitimately homeless in Melbourne.

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