The Queensland Government has granted a health exemption to a pair stranded in a Sydney hotel to visit their dying family member after being denied multiple times.
Mark Kilian and Anneli Gericke have been granted permission to fly into Queensland so that Mr Killian can see his dying father, Franz, for the last time.
The decision follows after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would allow the couple back into the state if NSW Health gave a clear plan on how to ensure they travelled safely across the border.
“We have issued an exemption to Mark Kilian and his partner, subject to NSW finalising arrangement of safe transfer of the couple to Queensland,” a Queensland Health statement on Wednesday read.
“All quarantine exemption requests are considered on a case-by-case basis, in line with current national guidelines.
“It has been a nationally agreed position that all international arrivals must complete 14 days of quarantine in their port of arrival.”
Queensland Health initially rejected the appeal while the couple sat on the tarmac waiting to depart Los Angeles International Airport, after Border Force and NSW Health appeals were successful.
On Wednesday, Ms Palaszczuk told reporters it was “a matter for the NSW Government”.
“If they want to break the 14-day mandatory quarantine for this couple, and if they can provide (Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young) with how they will safely be transferred from Sydney to the Gold Coast, we, of course, will do everything we can to facilitate the reunion with his father at the earliest convenience.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison penned a letter to Queensland authorities, chiding their handling of the intensely personal matter, saying Mr Kilian had done “everything you possibly can” to see his dying father.
Frans Kilian, 80, was moved to hospital last week after his pancreatic cancer took a turn for the worse.
“We didn’t think he was going to make it through yesterday, I think he’d been holding on for us to get there,” Mr Kilian told 9News last week.
“When he heard we weren’t coming he just took a turn.”
Mr Morrison said after having to farewell his own father last year, he knew how dire these last moments were for families.
“I know what an important time this is for you and that you can never get these days back,” he said in a letter to Mr Kilian dated June 22.
“I am disappointed the Queensland Government has not found a workable and compassionate solution.
“However, the Australian Government does not have authority to step in and provide exemptions from hotel quarantine for travel into Queensland. Under our federation, these decisions are made by the Queensland Government.”
On Tuesday, Ms Palaszczuk acknowledged that while the situation was “absolutely tragic”, her hands were tied by national guidelines on hotel quarantine.
However, she did allow one silver lining for the couple.
“If the Federal Government wants to talk to both states, I’m happy to facilitate that,” she said.
“But this [hotel quarantine] applies to everybody. This applies to everyone. Every single person.”
Mr Kilian feared he wouldn’t get to say goodbye to his father if he and his wife were forced into a two weeks hotel quarantine.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian previously called on her counterparts to show compassion on border exemptions, and to make decisions based on “human dignity”.
“My heart breaks when I hear about stories like this,” she said.
“New South Wales has always tried to have a compassionate approach especially when there are circumstances such as this one.
“I just ask all of my colleagues to think carefully before preventing families from being united at a very difficult time.”
This article originally appeared on Over60.