Senator HENDERSON (Victoria) (13:54): [by video link] I rise to raise serious concerns about the Victorian Government’s decision to prohibit Victorians from returning home under the guise of public health orders.

For weeks now, hundreds of Victorians – perhaps even thousands – have been trapped interstate, declined a permit to travel over the border and back to their homes.

Whether they have been interstate to visit family, take a holiday or attend school, what sort of country are we living in which denies Victorians the right to return home?

They are prepared to follow all testing and home quarantining requirements.

Since raising the case of Denis and Katrina Leahy, from Geelong, I’ve received many more complaints from Victorians trapped in caravan parks or other temporary accommodation – Victorians who have made multiple applications for permits which are continually denied.

Denis and Katrina are fully vaccinated, stuck in Albury in a caravan park, each have had 5 negative Covid tests and have been refused a permit to drive straight to their home where they would quarantine for 14 days.  They are proposing to drive straight home, without stopping, presenting a risk to no-one.

Grant and Diana Trewin, from Lara, have been stuck in Hastings Point in northern NSW for a month. Diana is really suffering.

Ian Symons from the Yarra Valley can’t get home.  I’ve also been contacted by Glen Rieschiek of Bendigo whose wife is stuck in Armadale NSW. Glen writes that his wife’s emotional state is worsening by the day – and his local state Labor member Jacinta Allan refuses to assist.

Of course it’s just as bad for Victorian school children who attend boarding school interstate – one student from Yanco Agricultural High School has been told he won’t get a second border crossing exemption to return to school at all.

Premier Daniel Andrews, this is not good enough, let Victorians come home.

2 September 2021

Categories: Speeches