A PNG-Born-Torres Strait Islander and Boigu registered Traditional Owner who was deported to Papua New Guinea in September last year says he is now being blocked from visiting his family by the Australian government.
Mr Jerry Dau was deported to PNG in 2018 after he had his Permanent Stay Visa revoked following a period of two years detention on Christmas Island.
However, Mr Dau has the right to visit Boigu, an island that sits in the Torres Straits 5km kilometres off the coast of Papua New Guinea, under the Torres Strait Treaty.
“I haven't seen my family since 2016, my three boys, my three girls and all my grandchildren,” Mr Dau recently told NITV News.
“My son travelled all the way from Cloncurry to see me and is on Boigu now.”
Mr Dau said he has been living with his cousins in the PNG Western Province village of Mabadauan since March this year.
Mabadauan is one of 13 villages whose residents are permitted under the treaty to visit the Torres Strait to maintain traditional kinship connections.
“I've been trying to go to Boigu Island to see my family but I don't know who will give me the OK to go across,” he said.
“Through Treaty I should be allowed to go across."
After asking for permission to visit the island, Mr Dau said Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) staff on Thursday Island told him he had to wait for “further information”.
DFAT offices on Thursday Island and Canberra declined to comment following enquiries by NITV News about Mr Dau’s situation.
Mr Dau said his brothers visited Boigu from the PNG treaty village of Ber two months ago and were told by an official there that a visit would be possible if he had spent more than six months in PNG.
Mr Dau is one of six Torres Strait Islanders NITV News has identified who have been locked up in detention centres and deported to PNG since stringent amendments to Australian visa laws in 2014.