Ten negative COVID tests not enough to satisfy border permit

A dash up to Oberon in regional NSW to visit his parents soon turned into an extended stay for Jose, following the passing of his father.

After organising the funeral and ensuring his mother’s well being, Jose assumed his application for a border permit to return to Victoria would be granted without much fuss.

“My daughter was going through lockdown in Melbourne on her own,” recalls Jose.

“My wife was here in Victoria. We have a large property which one person alone can’t manage. She went through that stress and aggravation alone.

“That was written in my submission; it’s not like we are sitting in a house that runs itself. It’s a full on farm that we need to manage.”

Conscious that his family needed him back in Victoria, Jose applied for an exemption.

“I went through the application process but found it to be a long and difficult process,” recalls Jose.

“After I submitted the form, there was no communication, nobody could help.”

On numerous occasions Jose’s application was rejected with no explanation why he was unsuccessful.

“One person rang me up and said I’d need a negative COVID-19 test,” he said.

“My question to them was ‘am I going to be travelling and if so, what’s the date?’

“Because a negative COVID-19 test is only valid for 48 hours. They couldn’t answer that question.

“I ended up having a COVID-19 test every two days. I ended up being a regular at the testing centre.”

After nearly three months locked out of Victoria, the phone call finally came.

“The next day, I packed up and got in the car and just drove like fury to get over that border,” he said.

“Now, I want to go back and visit my mum for Christmas. I now don’t know if I can do that.

“I’m willing to go up on my own, but my wife and my daughter can’t afford to be stuck there at the same time. What do you do?”