Grieving siblings locked out of Victoria after attending funeral
After the passing of his sister-in-law, Alex and his older sister travelled to the Central Coast of NSW to attend the funeral.
When the funeral was finished and family matters tended too, Alex was keen to return home, but the borders shut, and he now required an exemption to return home.
What was meant to be a two-week trip north of the border, soon turned into a nine-week nightmare, as four separate applications for a border permits were denied.
“My sister is a pensioner and I’m a self funded retiree,” explained Alex.
“Certainly the process did not support those people trapped by the prohibition on travel.
“For people in less fortunate situations as our own, it seemed cruel to be forced to find accommodation, to look after yourself with no access to work, no access to anything but your savings.”
Frustrating his predicament even further was the lack of communication Alex experienced during the border permit application process.
“On the first two or three applications that we made, I nominated a return travel date about a week out, thinking three or four days of processing time would be enough (for the Department of Health) and allow us time to book our plane flight.
“The Department’s response took longer than the date I had nominated for my return travel date and simply got knocked back. That happened twice.”
“We were supplying the same information more than once and there didn’t seem to be any tracking of information being supplied to the them (the Department).”
As the days ticked by, the anxiety grew.
“My sister lives with her adult daughter who is suffering from breast cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. My sister was very anxious to be close to her and back caring for her,” stated Alex.
“I think public health control is critical, but what you can’t do is deny people their citizenship, their right of movement in their own country without due course or a roadmap with how you’re going to help them deal with it.”