Exiled veteran furious at Minogue’s ‘celebrity treatment’
A GRIEVING army veteran admits she can't sing like Dannii Minogue but says it shouldn't stop her getting the same treatment by the State Government to cross the border back home.
Gold Coaster Donna Sheldrick, marooned in Victoria where she has been grieving her late mother and brother, claims she is being denied an exemption to return and isolate in her own home, despite serious medical conditions.
Under strict new COVID-19 restrictions all individuals returning from Victoria to Queensland are required to isolate in specified hotels for 14 days, at their own cost.
The 63-year old Benowa local - who suffers severe anxiety and depression after her time in the service as a warrant officer and the two recent deaths in her family - said despite efforts by her psychologist, an exemption from the mandatory hotel stay was rejected.
Fuelling her frustration at being trapped is seeing reality TV X Factor judge and singer Dannii Minogue get the all-clear to isolate at a private Gold Coast residence.
"You have no idea how I felt, I was just speechless when I found out, absolutely astounded," Ms Sheldrick said. "We are allowing her to fly in from America because she is a celebrity, but me who has been 40km outside of Melbourne on over 100 acres for months can't do the same? Hello.
"I served for 27 years but I have been cast aside because I can't sing as good as her. To make matters worse, one of my daughters turns 30 at the end of the month and I can't be there for her, and the other is having her first child.
"How can they say what she (Minogue) is doing is more important? My issue is medical, I didn't cause this situation, I have been doing the right thing and been in gloves and masks yet I will be the one slugged a few thousand for a mandatory hotel stay.
"I have been in Victoria since May to be with my dying brother, I was there for his funeral and it was just a few weeks later my mother also died. It was a shock so I stayed to say goodbye to her," Ms Sheldrick said.
A day after her mother's funeral the tighter new restrictions on returning residents kicked in. "I was told I can't get back without staying in a hotel for two weeks," she said.
"I couldn't sit in a hotel room for two weeks, not like this. I called my psychiatrist and said it was going to be pretty bad.
"We both called Queensland Health and were told the same thing, nothing could be done."
Ms Sheldrick said she had no issues complying with isolation but should be allowed to do it at home.
"I am 63, I'm not going out to party, I'm staying at home," she said.
The mother of two plans to pursue it further in writing with the State Government.
The Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said no special treatment was given to Minogue and the exemption was instead in place because Minogue had a COVID-safe plan.
"If you don't have a COVID-safe plan or an industry plan or an exemption to hotel quarantine, then you go into hotel quarantine," Dr Young said. "(Dannii) has a COVID-safe plan being managed by an independent third party. That's the reason that she got exemption.
"There are a number of people who have come under that category I've given an exemption to because they have third party arrangements in place, that I'm confident meet all the requirements that we have in place for hotel quarantine."
A QH spokesperson said every exemption application was considered with their safety in mind. "The compulsory quarantine period in Queensland, consistent with that of our state and international peers, is there to protect our community.
"Quarantine outside of government-arranged accommodation is only available in very limited circumstances.
"The Chief Health Officer must be satisfied the same strict quarantine requirements that are required in government-arranged accommodation can be met in these situations."
Originally published as Exiled veteran furious at Minogue's 'celebrity treatment'