Ballarat residents and thousands of other Victorians trapped interstate by border closures are "distraught" and permits should be issued to allow them to return home immediately according to Federal Liberal Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson.
Ms Henderson's office is managing the cases of two Ballarat residents - Allan Meers who is stranded in Lismore after visiting a terminally ill friend in July, and a man trapped in Eden on the NSW south coast - among around 30 local travellers being prevented from crossing the border to return home.
"This is a shocking human rights breach," she said. "I called on the ombudsman a month ago to intervene because I could see a systemic failure of the Victorian government to provide a permit for Victorians to come home."
Ms Henderson said all of the stranded travellers she was in contact with were fully vaccinated, have returned multiple negative COVID tests and were prepared to go straight home and quarantine for 14 days.
"They are all willing to follow all the public health advice to mitigate any risk but have got to be allowed to come home."
Thousands of Victorians, who travelled to New South Wales to see family or to holiday, have applied for a permit to come home.
"Stranded Victorians are in despair as they miss medical appointments, suffer poor mental health and incur mounting costs.
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Ms Henderson said she had raised concerns about disproportionate health measures in COVID and said the Ballarat lockdown with only four positive cases did seem at odds with what had happened in other parts of regional Victoria.
"Certainly the decision to lock down Ballarat on four publicly known cases is obviously very concerning but I'm not able to make a judgement because I'm not privy to the health advice," she said.
Ms Henderson was in Ballarat on Wednesday to announce the opening of the Liberal House Ballarat campaign office in Sturt St.
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