The youngest daughter of the Biloela family held in detention for more than four years will celebrate her birthday in her home town for the first time.
Parents Priya and Nades and their Australian-born daughters Kopika, 6, and Tharnicaa, 4, are expected to depart Perth early on Wednesday and arrive in the central Queensland town on Friday afternoon.
The family has been through protracted legal proceedings to try to stay in the country as they were moved from Melbourne to Christmas Island before arriving in Perth, but it was a change in government that paved their way home.
They were taken from Biloela in March 2018 and put in immigration detention, kicking off a more than 1500-day campaign from town locals to get them back
Tharnicaa was just nine months old. She turns five on Sunday.
Nearly 600,000 people signed Home to Bilo campaigner Angela Frederick’s Change.org petition in support of the family.
More than 53,000 phone calls and emails were made to Australian politicians from the family’s supporters around the country.
In 2019 courts blocked a Coalition attempt to send the family to Sri Lanka.
They were then held at the Christmas Island detention centre for two years until then-immigration minister Alex Hawke moved them to community detention in Perth in mid-2021.
Following the change of government, interim Home Affairs Minister Jim Chalmers exercised his power under Section 195A of the Migration Act to allow the family’s passage home.
“The effect of my intervention enables the family to return to Biloela, where they can reside lawfully in the community on bridging visas while they work towards the resolution of their immigration status, in accordance with Australian law,” he said last month.