Two years of detention takes toll on family
THE toll prolonged detention has had on a Biloela family is showing, as today marks two years since they were forced from their home due to a visa dispute.
Tamils Priya and Nades and their daughters Kopika, 5 and Tharunicaa, 2, are detained at Christmas Island and awaiting a federal court decision which will determine if their future is back at Biloela, or if they will be deported to Sri Lanka.
Family friend Angela Fredericks who visited them last week said she was "frustrated" the family's future is still uncertain after two years of detention.
They are the only detainees at the Christmas Island facility, which was reopened by the Federal Government in March last year and has cost taxpayers about $27 million.
"I'm incredibly frustrated that we're sitting here two years later still talking about this," she said.
"Seeing them and where they're living right now with those guards, it's no place for children and I also don't think it's any place for innocent human beings.
"It's ridiculous seeing so many staff over there too, it's a mammoth waste of taxpayers' money."
She said Priya and Nades were isolated and their daughters' social development has stalled due to their prolonged detention.
"We went to a playgroup with Tharunicaa and I attempted to take her over to a group of children but she just could not handle being separated from her parents," Ms Fredericks said.
Ms Fredericks said she was thankful for the amount of support the family has received from across Australia.
During her recent visit to Christmas Island Priya showed her some of the 400 Christmas cards they received.
Whether the family's future lies in Sri Lanka or Biloela hinges on two-year-old Tharunicaa's right to apply for a protection visa.
A two-day hearing was held at the federal court last month.
A date for Justice Mark Moshinsky's decision is yet to be set, and it could be up to three months away.