Melbourne denies homeless clean up linked to tennis

Authorities in Melbourne have denied that measures to remove homeless camps from downtown areas are an attempt to protect the image of the Australian Open.

"There is no link between our routine and ongoing clean-up operations and any major events occurring in the city," A City of Melbourne spokesperson said in a statement.

Reports said that some people were asked to leave the Flinders Street Railway Station so a concrete area could be cleaned and many of them have since returned.

The train station is just 1.4km, or an 18-minute walk, from Melbourne Park, where the Australian Open is set to begin on Monday.

The council is "improving public amenity" by removing rubbish, the spokesperson said.

Salvation Army Major Brendan Nottle said that people have moved to central city areas because they feel safer there as violence and crime increase.

"They want to be where there is police and CCTV and that’s why we have these camps that have popped up all over the place," Nottle said.