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‘It’s just hopeless’: Western Australian family stranded because of arrival caps

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The harsh reality of the impact Australia’s cap on international arrivals has again been thrown under the spotlight as a Western Australia woman faces the loss of her job after she was bumped off a return flight with no hope of a replacement until December.

Dunsborough resident Jo Kennedy was granted permission to travel to London in late July to manage the sale of a property which had been owned by her late father after the property was broken into. Along with her partner Sam, Ms Kennedy travelled to to file a police report, set up a security system and organise an insurance claim before getting it on the market.

Speaking with Gareth Parker on Mornings she said she left Australia in early August with return flights booked for September 2 but on August 28 she was notified her seats had been cancelled and her airline Qatar says no seats are available until December.

“The 17th or 18th of December are their earliest seats at the moment but there’s no guarantee those will mean anything,” she said.

“They’ve said they’re only allowed 30 to 40 people in a day and they keep asking to bring more people in and they keep getting told they can’t.

“They said they’d happily fly everyone from tomorrow if the caps can get lifted.”

While she says she understands the need to keep Australians healthy, she’s frustrated with a lack of help or explanation from Australian authorities as to how she can return home.

“I can’t get any in the government to say who is responsible for the cap,” she said.

“My Federal MP’s office told me it was a state issue, (Mark) McGowan’s office told me it was a federal issue, DFAT say they can’t help but we don’t understand why it’s such a small amount allowed to come in.”

“Other than Libby (Mettam), nobody has really gotten back to us. My federal member’s office were really helpful but I haven’t heard from them since.

“I had a letter from Scott Morrison which was just a generic letter that says that DFAT advised in March that travel would be difficult, but we were granted permission after that, and he says that DFAT’s advice is ‘be patient’.

“But we can’t sit here for three months, I’m going to lose my job. My partner is a sole trader, he’s got clients who were willing to wait for him for six weeks while we came home and did our isolation, but they’re not going to wait forever.”

Listen to Jo’s story here:

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