Melbourne parents denied entry to WA to bring son’s body home

Western Australia's rigid border restrictions have prevented grieving Melbourne parents from flying to Perth to bring their son's body home.

Katie and Steve Grace say the pain of not being able to enter the state where their son died has only worsened their grief.

Their son, talented rugby player Jordan Grace, was on a contract to play in Perth when he took his own life last month – two days before his 21st birthday.

READ MORE: Northern Territory announces changes to border rules ahead of Christmas reopening

They were notified when a police officer went to their Williamstown home in Melbourne's west.

Ms Grace said the first thing the parents wanted to do was to get to Perth to be with their son.

"I just wanted to get to him. It was my baby," she said.

The Graces applied for an exemption to enter Western Australia due to the state's strict COVID-19 restrictions.

However, they were told they would have to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks upon arriving in the state.

With other children at home, the Graces couldn't contemplate leaving them and going into lockdown.

"So (WA authorities) then said well if you don't want to hotel quarantine we will just deny you entry," Ms Grace said.

"We weren't going there for a holiday.

"We just wanted to go see our boy pack up his things and come home and bring him home with us."

Mr Grace said it had been a tough three weeks for the family.

"We just want closure so that we can start celebrating our son and move on," he said.

Considering they are both fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the family believe they should have been shown some grace by Western Australian authorities.

Ms Grace said the border restrictions were causing pain for more than just them.

"If anyone had half a heart they wouldn't let another person suffer the way not only we have but countless other people."

WA Premier Mark McGowan says higher regional vaccination rates is the only solution.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews today said he could understand that the parents' pain had been made "much worse" by the border restrictions.

"That would be so very difficult to deal with," he said.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said he was "sympathetic to all these cases" but defended the decision to refuse entry.

"The police manage this according to pretty strict protocols," he said.

"We don't want to end up in the situation New South Wales and Victoria ended up."

The Graces have now laid Jordan to rest, but are still desperate for borders to open so they can get to Perth and retrace his last steps.

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

For further information about depression, contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

Leave a Comment