Border restrictions: Mark Keans given approval to see four children with $16,000 quarantine fees

A dying father who wanted to say goodbye to his four children has had his wish granted by the Queensland government, but with a whopping fee.

A dying dad’s last wish to see his four children has been granted by the Queensland government, but the family will have to pay a whopping $16,000 in quarantine fees.

The Sydney-based family of Mark Keans, 39, who has terminal cancer and is currently at his home in Brisbane, applied for a border exemption a month ago when he was diagnosed with stage four cancer in his brain and lungs.

They made headlines on Thursday after the state government refused this plea sparking outrage around the country.

And in some good news, Keans’ four children will now be allowed to enter Queensland, however it’s going to be a costly mission which will set them back $16,000, as they will first have to quarantine at their own expense for two weeks.

After they’ve served the isolation time, they will then be dressed in PPE gear before officials will take them to see their father in his home.

“My wife turned around and says, so what you’re expecting us to pay is more money to visit him then what it’s gonna cost to bury him,” the children’s grandfather Bruce Langborne told 7NEWS.

Mark Keans, 39, pictured with his kids.

Queensland Health authorities reportedly received multiple requests for exemptions from the family.

“We understand and sympathise that this is a very difficult time and there are challenges,” a Queensland Health spokesperson said.

“We are in the midst of a global pandemic and we need to protect our communities, especially the most vulnerable members of the community.

“Queensland’s current border restrictions are in place for one purpose – to save lives.

Keans is not expected to survive beyond Christmas.

He had previously been asked to choose which of his children to see as only one of four will be able to cross the border to Queensland where he is stuck.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked to intervene in the tragic case which sparked outrage over coronavirus border closures in Queensland that have been the subject of pain for many families.

Earlier, Mr Langborne, said the kids “desperately want to see him”.

“They told us we were being selfish – and we weren’t taking into consideration the other cancer patients,” Mr Langborne told 7News.

“I have no idea how you pick and choose which child goes.

“We’re bashing our heads against brick walls.”


Outspoken Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has become the latest vocal critic of Queensland’s hard border closure.

Speaking to Today this morning, she hit out at Ms Palaszczuk’s decision to deny the family a border exemption.

“I think this is just being cruel now. There is no compassion in this whatsoever,” Senator Lambie said.

“I don‘t know what Palaszczuk is trying to prove…it seems that they let people through their borders to suit them.

“They’re not coming from a hot spot, what is the problem? Look at the faces of those kids for goodness sake, this has gone way too far.”

Mr Langborne said his family had refused to choose which child could go and visit their father.

“We’ve said none,” he said.

“Basically, we could not pick one over any of the others. It’s impossible. Every one of them deserves it... It’s easier to pick the adults, which adults to go and not to go but it wouldn’t be the children.”

Today host Karl Stefanovic added there needed to be a better system in place.

“When you have a family choosing which child should say goodbye to their father, their dad, it’s gone too far. Just too far,” he said.

“Grant the exemption. The Premier is not heartless. She needs to streamline the system while protecting Queenslanders.

“There is a medium. Find it. Let these kids say goodbye and let a dying man say goodbye.”

The four children are in Sydney. 

Ms Palaszczuk recently said she was unable to visit her dying uncle.

“My uncle was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and I couldn’t go and visit him in the hospital,” she said.

The issue was raised by Opposition leader Deb Frecklington in Queensland parliament, who said the family “may have had more luck if they were in the AFL or crew on a superyacht.”

However the Premier was having none of it, saying: “If Queenslanders had listened to the LNP when they asked for the borders to be opened 64 times, we may have been in the situation of Victoria.”

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard also said he felt “supreme anger, at the Queensland Premier’s decision, which in my view is nothing more base loopy politics. I’m appalled.”

It comes as Newcastle man revealed he doesn’t know when he will be able to see his newborn daughter due to harsh restrictions.

Fly-in-fly-out worker Chris Bennett, who is based in Wangi Wangi, welcomed his first child, Adalyn, with his partner Laura Goff seven weeks ago.

After spending six weeks at home, Mr Bennett, 27, had to go back to work in the mines at Moranbah in North Queensland and has spent the last two weeks in quarantine in a Brisbane hotel, where the mandatory cost is $2800.

“Every day I get up and I listen to the TV to see if they’ve given a date yet (to reopen the border) or allowed any extra exemptions,” Ms Goff, 29, told the Newcastle Herald.

“They’ve just let a whole football code go over the border and stay in a hotel, with their wives having cocktails with each other not social distancing at the swim-up bar, and Chris is in quarantine and I’m trying to take photos and videos of our baby smiling for the first time so he is not missing out.

“I feel like there is an easier way than making an Australian pay $2800 for quarantine (to cross a state border).”

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