A father says he can barely sleep or eat with border restrictions seeing family blocked from flying home to attend his daughter’s funeral.
A father says he can barely sleep or eat with border restrictions seeing family blocked from flying home to attend his daughter’s funeral.

Dad’s heartbreak: 'My girl won’t get a proper farewell'

A TASMANIAN father is struggling to set a date for the funeral of his 23-year-old daughter who died suddenly in Victoria while his surviving daughter has been blocked from returning home.

Amy White passed away on July 7 in Melbourne where she had been working for the past six months.

Dad John White said it had been a "nightmare" trying to organise Amy's funeral with family across the country and no announcement on when Tasmania's borders will be reopening.

John White of Hobart, whose daughter Amy died in Melbourne 10 days ago, is struggling to set a date for her funeral because of a ban on Victorians entering Tasmania due to COVID-19 restrictions meaning her body can’t come home. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES
John White of Hobart, whose daughter Amy died in Melbourne 10 days ago, is struggling to set a date for her funeral because of a ban on Victorians entering Tasmania due to COVID-19 restrictions meaning her body can’t come home. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

The BnB owner said his business had been decimated by COVID-19 and "now I've lost my baby girl".

"You expect them to live longer than you do," Mr White said.

"Amy's mum is in Queensland, my brothers are in NSW and Aelish and Amy's boyfriend are in Victoria.

"I'm just in limbo - I can't set a date - mum and daughter would never forgive me if I ran the funeral without them.

"Am I supposed to leave her in a freezer drawer for weeks on end?

"The loss of a daughter is as heavy as it gets. I can't express the difficulty - I can barely sleep, barely eat and barely think straight."

Older sister Aelish, 25, had been studying in Melbourne for the past year and has been unable to gain an exemption to return to the state to comfort her dad and attend her sister's funeral.

"In the letters from the State Controller [Darren Hine] he says 'sorry for the inconvenience' - inconvenience - my only sister just died," she said.

"Whatever they need from me I'll do, but it's just a straight out no 'don't come here, you'll be turned around and punishment will apply.'

"Tassie is my home - everyone is there, just because I have a lease here[Melbourne] doesn't take that away from me.

"If there's one time in your life you need to be with your family it's now - I just need to hold my dad. We're all falling apart."

The last picture of John White with his daughter Amy before she moved to Melbourne. Picture: SUPPLIED
The last picture of John White with his daughter Amy before she moved to Melbourne. Picture: SUPPLIED

Ms White said she had presented letters from the coroner, funeral director and even former prime minister Kevin Rudd as part of her application for exemption and had made a request to the ombudsman to see if there could be a review of the decision.

"It's completely at the discretion of the State Controller and there's no indication as to how he has to make a decision and there's no option to review or challenge or get someone else to look at your case," she said.

"If this doesn't constitute compassionate grounds then what does?"

 

 

A State Control Centre spokeswoman said from July 9 only residents of Tasmania or someone who was an approved "specified person" was permitted to enter the state.

"While travellers from Victoria can apply for a specified person compassionate exemption to travel to Tasmania, these exemptions are unlikely to be granted in the short term due to rapidly changing circumstances in Victoria," the spokeswoman said.

"Wherever possible, a humanitarian approach is taken to applications for exemptions for compassionate reasons including to attend funerals, on medical grounds or for end of life care.

"It is acknowledged that throughout the response to COVID-19, some families have experienced difficult circumstances because of restrictions on gatherings, borders and other activities.

"However, on Public Health advice, the State Controller is unlikely to approve any application for an exemption when the applicant resides in an identified COVID - 19 hotspot in Victoria."

jessica.howard@news.com.au

Originally published as Dad's heartbreak: My girl won't get a proper farewell



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