INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED: There are serious health concerns for Biloela Tamil refugee children Kopika and Tharunicaa. INSET: Tharunicaa is suffering from dental health issues.
INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED: There are serious health concerns for Biloela Tamil refugee children Kopika and Tharunicaa. INSET: Tharunicaa is suffering from dental health issues.

Complaint lodged with Victorian child protection services

THE health and well being of the children of the Tamil family facing deportation has come under scrutiny with a complaint lodged to the Victorian Child Protection Service.

Biloela advocate Angela Fredericks said the deterioration of the health of the two children Kopika, 4 and Tharunicaa, 2 had caused great concern.

"A paediatrician has seen Priya and Nades' children last Monday and made some recommendations about their health,” Angela said.

"Tharunicaa will need to go under general anaesthetic to have her teeth fixed and is still waiting for a date to be set.

"Kopika needs to be attending a play group at least three times a week and has only gone to one since being put into detention 15 months ago.”

A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said they were unable to comment on individual matters involving children or young people.

A statement released by the department said, when Victorian Child Protection received a report about a child in immigration detention, the department worked closely with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to co-ordinate any necessary investigations and interventions.

This approach is guided by a Memorandum of Understanding between the two departments that sets out the process and procedures for such intervention.

The department also said in 2017, the Victorian Supreme Court ruled that the State of Victoria did have jurisdiction when children in immigration detention were in need of protection.

Also this week the swearing in of the second Morrison Ministry has seen David Coleman hold onto his Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs position.

Angela said there had been notification from lawyers, acting on the family's behalf, that the federal minister's department had agreed to an undertaking where the family would not be deported until Tharunicaa's claims had been processed.

"While I am relieved we have staved off an immediate deportation, I'm still extremely concerned about the immediate well being of this family and we are going to continue lobbying Minister Coleman for their release,” Angela said.


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