'Disbelief': Biloela family loses final plea for asylum
A FINAL plea for asylum for two-year-old Tharunicaa has been refused, placing a former Biloela family at imminent risk of deportation.
Supporters say officials have blocked an assessment of dangers faced by the Australian born toddler in Sri Lanka, and now she, her parents Nades and Priya and four-year-old sister Kopika face imminent deportation.
Family friend Angela Fredericks has urged Immigration Minister David Coleman to "open his heart" in a last-ditch effort to allow the family to return to Biloela.
Yesterday, the family's lawyers were advised that officials have refused to ask Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to allow the toddler's needs for protection under the Refugee Convention to be assessed, putting the family at imminent risk of deportation.
Ms Fredericks said she was in "utter disbelief" at the Department's refusal to pass on the request to Mr Dutton.
"Like her four-year-old sister Kopika, Tharunicaa was born here in Biloela and Australia is all she knows," Ms Fredericks said.
"It just doesn't make sense that a family who has assimilated, contributed and worked hard could be taken away from an outback town that is desperate for population growth."
"Priya and Nades are exactly the kind of people that we need in rural Australia," she said.
The family has been held in a Melbourne detention centre since March 2018, when Border Force officers took them from their Biloela home one day after Priya's visa expired.
A petition to bring the family home to Biloela has been signed by more than 200,000 people.
Ms Fredericks said that the family's future now rested in Mr Coleman's hands.
"Australian law gives the Immigration Minister the power to step in and save people who would otherwise fall through the cracks in the immigration system," Ms Fredericks said.
"Last week, Mr Coleman took a common-sense approach when he listened to the community of Warrnambool and stepped in to allow Vasrine and her family to remain in Australia," she said.
"Australians have opened their hearts to Priya, Nades and the girls and Mr Coleman has shown that he can open "his heart too."
At the end of the day, this is the story of a hard-working Mum and Dad, their two Australian-born kids and a town that loves and wants them."