A musician who relocated to Albury last year finds himself homeless, penniless and unable to reunite with his family.
Chooka Parker, a contestant on television's Australia's Got Talent in 2011, had been working at Wodonga manufacturer Bradken for a year as a casual, but was let go last month and spiralled into financial peril.
Mr Parker had been on the job hunt for the past five weeks without success and attempted to start teaching piano lessons as a way to earn an income, but lockdowns in both NSW and Victoria quickly put a stop to that.
He then got to the stage where he could no longer pay his rent and was forced to vacate his North Albury residence on Thursday and make his way back to South Australia to be with his family at Murray Bridge.
Mr Parker arrived at Wentworth on the NSW-Victorian border at midnight on Thursday as his family scraped together all the money it could to pay for a removalist to transport his possessions back to Murray Bridge.
But that's as far as he can get for now as his exemption, which he first applied for on August 9, to enter South Australia remains in limbo.
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"I've spoken to that many politicians, health ministers and it was even discussed in parliament," Mr Parker said.
"They said they would sort it out in a week and then it became two to three and four to five weeks. At some point I was going to be homeless and now I'm in that situation.
"A friend has been good enough to put me up in a room (at Wentworth), but she can't do that forever.
Mr Parker has been homeless before, but said sleeping in his Toyota Tarago with his cat, Angel, wasn't possible as it's packed to the brim with items from his house.
"People able to keep their jobs and be in a position where they have money are fine with these restrictions, but for everyone else it makes it very difficult," he said.
"In this case, the management isn't good enough when it gets serious for people. I think we need to speak up and someone needs to make a change.
"You're told to go home, but how are you supposed to when you're homeless?"
Mr Parker's mother, Kerry, has spent countless hours searching for answers to get her son home.
"The original health exemption application, which is the primary requirement for entering into South Australia, was put in on August 9," she said.
"We were then put into a fast track portal on the 25th of August, but we still haven't heard any more.
"I made 45 phone calls to him on Thursday alone to do with the move.
"He had his phone on loudspeaker and I was just keeping him company until he arrived at midnight last so he didn't fall asleep. He drove six and a half hours after the big pack up and vacated the premises.
"It's been an incredibly difficult time for him, hence the need for him to come home."
Mr Parker's situation was brought to light by Member for Murray Helen Dalton, after contact from the family.
"People like Chooka aren't fairly treated and they often slip through the cracks," Mrs Dalton said.
"I think governments and bureaucrats lose perspective and forget about the people on the ground. They're supposed to work with the people, not make their lives a misery."
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