The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has been accused of providing conflicting information to a Riverina family.
Junee woman Kate Hinds slammed the DHHS after its advice led to a confusing and "stressful" ordeal for her elderly father following the closure of the Victorian border to NSW on January 1.
Ms Hinds was forced to scramble to get her 88-year-old father Charlie home to Tasmania on Wednesday after they were told he couldn't transit through Melbourne airport and wouldn't qualify for an exemption.
She said she spent three frustrating days trying to talk to someone on the DHHS COVID-19 hotline and was hung up on multiple times before receiving contradictory information.
The Daily Advertiser, which published a story about the Hinds family on Wednesday, sought comment from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday about their situation.
The DHHS took 27 hours to respond and said people passing through Victoria from another state or territory could apply for a transit permit.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"We know current border restrictions are causing difficulty for those in border communities and we thank them for their patience in helping us control the spread of coronavirus," a DHHS spokesperson said.
"People transiting through NSW to Victoria from another state or territory, or briefly passing through Victoria from another state or territory but not staying, can apply for a transit permit."
But Ms Hinds said the rules were still unclear because she had been told she couldn't get a transit permit for her father when she originally tried to apply for one.
"You have to declare that you haven't overnighted in NSW. He can't declare that because he has overnighted in NSW because that would be a false declaration," she said.
"It's misleading and it's really challenging. If you're temporarily passing through Victoria it says you can apply for a permit. The inference is if you apply for one you'd get one."
Ms Hinds had to drive her father to Canberra. He then flew to Hobart and took a four-hour bus trip to get home to Devonport, after being told he couldn't transit through Melbourne airport as originally planned.
"You've got to rate him as a low risk. He'd only be spending 35 minutes in the airport. They've got to have some common sense," she said.
Ms Hinds said she supported measures to keep the community safe but said the current rules were difficult to navigate.
"I would like them just to have the information well presented. I've worked for local government [but] I think for an average layman it would be really confusing," she said.