"I'm sorry, but we can't let you check in without a permit from the NLC"
Shocked, but not deterred, I responded with my trump card.
"I was assured by the CEO of the NLC (Northern Land Council) that we did not need a permit as returning residents."
We quickly discover that Air North (the only airline that flies from Darwin to Nhulunbuy) also has communication directly from Marion Scrymgour (NLC's CEO) stating that we must have a permit or Air North will face a severe fine.
14 days of quarantine in a hotel unit with 2 children under 2.
Straight from the hotel to the airport with no stops to avoid an additional quarantine in Nhulunbuy.
Weeks of preparation… weeks of phone calls to the NT travel authority, the NLC and our airline to change flights and check regulations as the rules kept changing. I pull out my phone and look at the email from the Department of Families with the corrected proof of quarantine letter. A letter that had no power to get me home.
Baffled and confused, we step aside while the stewardess begins to see if there is any way for us to get home.
The flight is due to take off minutes before office hours… before we can even start to do anything about this.
24 hours until the next flight… do we just fly all the way back to Melbourne?
Tired from a late night last night organising quarantine letter corrections and waking up at 4am. My brain was a thick soup of worry. We arrived early in case something went wrong… yay.
My glazed eyes rest on the emails from last night. Correspondence from a senior director jumping to our rescue late at night to make sure that we could make it through… an email that included a mobile number.
Suddenly I'm talking with Kelly Cooper, empathetic super hero and part time senior director at the Department of Families. She asks to be put on the phone to the stewardess and vows to sort everything while we are in the air if they let us board. Half an hour later we are checking baggage and on our way.
Tired and praising our Maker, we touch down in Arnhem Land.
Final paper work at the airport in Nhulunbuy with the Federal Police, we discover that the Police didn't need any paperwork from NLC at all.
Too over it to care at this point…
Thank you Jesus!