A VIGIL for a Sri Lankan family in immigration detention will be held outside the Albury office of member for Farrer Sussan Ley on Friday afternoon.
The gathering from 5pm has been organised by lobby group Rural Australians for Refugees and will complement a similar event in Wangaratta from 4pm at the Wangaratta shopfront of member for Indi Helen Haines.
They follow Immigation Minister Alex Hawke this week allowing Priya and Nades Murugappan and their daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa to live in community detention in Perth after having been held on Christmas Island since 2019.
RAR Albury-Wodonga president Penny Vine said while the government had reunited the family in Perth, following Tharunicaa, 4, being severely ill, they needed to allow them to return to Biloela in Queensland.
"All the words in the world aren't enough, there has to be real action," Dr Vine said.
"There are a lot of other families in the same situation but in some ways this family is a flagship for the entire process where they focus on people coming on boats and those that come on aeroplanes nobody is talking about that."
Today is Tharni from Biloela's 4th birthday and new friends Justine Clark, Charli from Hi-Five and others have sung her favourite song!— HometoBilo (@HometoBilo) June 11, 2021
Please help Tharni celebrate her big day by retweeting this gorgeous video and sharing your own birthday message with the #hometobilo hashtag. pic.twitter.com/sbty0PQz41
RAR Wangaratta branch co-convenor Bern Fraser welcomed the "marginal improvements" living in Perth would give the Murugappans but wants Mr Hawke to allow them to return to Biloela.
"The minister has got the discretionary power and it's happened before where the minister has granted visas and it should happen here because it just needs to be resolved for everyone," Ms Fraser said.
"Supporters are particularly concerned about the continuing mental and physical harm to the two Australian-born girls caused by the family's unnecessary detention by the Federal Government."
Changes to Victoria's COVID restrictions from Friday mean 50 rather than 20 people are allowed to gather outside Dr Haines' office with Ms Fraser urging attendees to register by email by Thursday.