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Victorian domestic violence worker with travel ban exemption barred from Queensland

Article image for Victorian domestic violence worker with travel ban exemption barred from Queensland

A Victorian man coming to the aid of domestic violence victims in Queensland has been refused entry at the border, despite holding an pass exempting him from travel restrictions.

Former police officer and domestic violence security expert, Stephen Wilson, left his Docklands home on Monday for a 13-hour drive to Queensland for work.

But when he arrived at the border he was told to go home.

“I got to the border and they stopped me and said I couldn’t go across,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“I found it quite concerning considering I actually had an exempt persons pass.

“I said ‘Look, I actually have a pass here. I’ve been up three times previously. I actually am crossing the border to do family violence services, including a number of police referrals that came from the Queensland Police, who wanted us to go an assist some women and children.”

Mr Wilson said Queensland officials at the border called for legal advice, then told him to leave.

“He produced his iPad and said you come from one of the 31 local government areas in Melbourne, you need to turn around. You cannot cross the border even with your exemption pass,” he said.

While the Victorian government has identified six council areas which are COVID-19 hotspots — Hume, Case, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin — the Queensland government has its own list, which is much longer.

The councils on Queensland’s hotspot list:

Banyule, Bayside, Booroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Greater Geelong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Macedon Ranges, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Mitchell, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moorabool, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Murrindindi, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra, Yarra Ranges.

“It felt to me like the Queensland government had just made up their own 31 hotspots,” Mr Wilson said.

“I had to ring the woman who was just across the border, who was expecting me to get there, to say ‘Look I can’t come now’.

“She was devastated.

“A truck with a container of soft toys can cross the border, but somebody going over with a specific purpose, to help a woman for a family violence incident, I can’t!”

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