A woman is trying desperately to be with her terminally ill dad. She fears she will miss their last Father’s Day together.
A woman is trying desperately to be with her terminally ill dad. She fears she will miss their last Father’s Day together.

Desperate daughter to miss dying dad’s ‘final’ Father’s Day

A woman trying desperately to come home for her dad's final Father's Day says she cannot understand why Queensland refuses to let her across the border despite travelling from one of the only regions with no cases of COVID-19.

Sarah Caisip's terminally ill father Bernard Prendergast has just weeks to live according to doctors treating his stage four metatastic melanoma in the liver.

His devastated daughter said she was struggling to find a way to visit him at his Nathan home for what will likely be their last Father's Day together.

Ms Caisip said she had been able to visit her father from her home in the ACT during the pandemic but had hit a roadblock since Queensland restrictions tightened again, leading to the border closing to those travelling from NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

Sarah Caisip (left) with her father Bernard Prendergast, younger sister Isobel Prendergast, 11, and mother Myrna Prendergast.
Sarah Caisip (left) with her father Bernard Prendergast, younger sister Isobel Prendergast, 11, and mother Myrna Prendergast.

When applying for entry to Queensland this time, Ms Caisip used the same medical evidence of her fathers' condition as she had previously however was asked to provide more recent updates of his health.

She was also told it would be unlikely she would be granted a further exemption should she need to attend her father's funeral later.

"I see you are planning on coming to Queensland to visit from 4th-6th Sept (sic)," read a letter from a Health Directions Enquiry Service officer.

"I feel I need to advise you that should your father pass when you have returned to the ACT a second exemption to enter Queensland (for your father's funeral) would be unlikely and even if approved would involve a further 14 days quarantine."

She said the application process had been so drawn out that even if she was granted an exemption, by the time she arrived in the state and completed 14 days' quarantine, she would have missed Father's Day which is next weekend.

"You may get an exemption to leave quarantine to visit your father if it is deemed he is in 'end of life' care."

Ms Caisip said the situation was heartbreaking.

"It's so annoying, I have provided all the documents I can," she said.

"It's probably the last time that I'll see him for Father's Day because he's deteriorating.

"I don't know why I have to quarantine when I'm coming from here where there are no cases."

It comes as another couple, from Victoria Point, were allegedly "abandoned" by the State Government after their border passes were refused when they tried to drive back into the state after a weekend at nearby Evans Head in NSW.

Samantha and her partner Justin had mistakenly completed a border pass to return home however did not realise the pass was strictly for people entering the state from declared hot spots by plane - and that people returning to the state from a hotspot could not come by road.

"(We) believed we had done the right passes," Samantha said.

"They forced us to turn around.

"We had pets at home to feed," said the Victoria Point construction worker.

The pair had urgently called several Redlands politicians "pleading for help" but were preparing to drive to Ballina to catch a flight to Sydney and then fly from Sydney into the Gold Coast.

"It was going to cost us a fortune.

"It's an unfair punishment for an honest mistake," she said.

"(The government) just abandon you.

"I can't even describe how appalled I am at the lack of support from the Queensland Government."

Queenslanders wanting to return to the state after visiting a COVID-19 hotspot must travel by plane. Picture: Scott Powick
Queenslanders wanting to return to the state after visiting a COVID-19 hotspot must travel by plane. Picture: Scott Powick

 

The couple was fortunate, however, because they were granted a rare exemption and allowed to drive back into the state and directly to a quarantine facility. They are currently waiting out a 14-day quarantine period in a government appointed hotel.

"It's like a glorified prison cell."

Federal MP Andrew Laming (Bowman) has called for an Inquiry into border management, and urged State MPs to meet face-to-face with affected Redland locals and lobby the Health Minister about border issues.

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"There are too many instances of patients and family in critical circumstances being refused, but high rollers being waved through. It sends a terrible signal."

A Queensland Health spokesperson said the state's border directions were in place to protect the health and safety of Queenslanders.

"The Chief Health Officer made the decision to include the ACT as a hotspot due to the frequent movement of NSW residents in and out of the territory," they said.

"Protecting public health is our top priority, and it is unlikely you will receive an exemption unless you qualify as someone who is exempt under the Border Direction or you are considered to have an exceptional circumstance - this applies to very few people.

"You should only apply for an exemption if extreme exceptional circumstances exist."

Originally published as Desperate daughter to miss dying dad's 'final' Father's Day



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