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Biloela Tamil asylum seeker family arrive in Brisbane after long-awaited trip back to Queensland

The Nadesalingam family thanked Perth as they prepared to head back to Queensland.

The Tamil asylum seeker family at the centre of a decade-long immigration battle have arrived in Brisbane after beginning their journey back to their adopted hometown of Biloela.

The Nadesalingam family this morning flew out of Western Australia and on Friday they will make their way to the rural Queensland town, where they will live in the community on bridging visas while their immigration case is resolved in court.

Priya, Nades and their daughters Kopica and Tharnicaa were met by media as they arrived at Perth Airport early this morning ahead of their flight east.

Dressed in matching outfits, the two little girls were a bit shy in front of the bright and flashing lights.

It was all smiles at Perth Airport as Kopika and Tharnicaa prepared to board their flight home. (ABC News: Cason Ho)

But they were all smiles as they clung to their parents and long-running campaigner and friend, Angela Fredericks.

Tharnicaa, who will celebrate her fifth birthday on Sunday — her first birthday outside of immigration detention — and Kopica, 7, were both holding toy cockatoos, which have become a symbol of the Home to Bilo campaign.

Tharnicaa stays close to Angela Fredericks, who has campaigned tirelessly to get the family home to Biloela. (ABC News: Cason Ho)

While at first declining to talk to the media and appearing overwhelmed, both girls shared a few words before entering the terminal.

Kopica said she was excited for her younger sister's upcoming birthday, with Tharnicaa adding she was having a "pink party" as it was her favourite colour.

'Happy to start our journey'

Priya gave a brief statement in English before Nades spoke in Tamil, both thanking those who had helped them get to this point.

The Nadesalingam family are scheduled to arrive in Biloela on Friday.  (ABC News: Cason Ho)

"Tomorrow it is one year staying in Perth since I came when my daughter [was] very sick," Priya said. 

"[We] are very grateful to all the Perth Children's Hospital [staff] who helped lots … I have made great friends.

"Thank you to all [of you people in] Perth, thanks. Love you Perth."

The Nadesalingam family arrived at Brisbane Airport on Wednesday. (ABC News: Celeste Macintosh)

Leaving Brisbane Airport this afternoon, Mr Nadesalingam waved to waiting media and said: "Hello Queensland! Thank you."

The family have been in detention for the past four years after immigration officials detained them in 2018.

Youngest daughter Tharnicaa was medically evacuated to Perth from Christmas Island last year. (Supplied:

Two weeks ago, Labor announced after winning the federal election that the family would be allowed to return to Biloela

'No people should be treated this way': PM

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the treatment the family had endured over the past four years should never be repeated.

"[Immigration officials] grab this family in the middle of the night, took them down to Melbourne, then took them to Christmas Island," he said.

There was a large media contingent on hand to meet the family outside the departure terminal. (ABC News: Cason Ho)

"They've ended up in Perth after these little girls, who were born in Australia, [suffered] not just mental health issues, but physical health issues as well.

"No people should be treated in that way."

Mr Albanese said the family were "loved and wanted" by their local community.

"I'm very proud we've brought this family home," he said.

A long battle to call Australia home

Priya and Nades came to Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013.

Priya (left) and Nades shared a kiss amid emotional scenes before boarding their flight. (ABC News: Cason Ho)

Friends and support groups say the pair fled Sri Lanka because of the persecution of the Tamil people.

The couple married and settled in Biloela, where they lived and worked for about three years on temporary bridging visas, with both Kopika and Tharnicaa born in Australia.

The Home to Bilo grassroots campaign has kept national attention on the asylum-seeking Tamil family since they were taken from Biloela in 2018.

The family was eventually removed to Christmas Island where they spent the better part of two years in the detention centre before being brought to Perth in 2021, when Tharnicaa required medical attention.

The Department of Home Affairs has consistently said their case for asylum was comprehensively assessed and the family did not meet Australia's protection obligations.

Their fate hung on a change of government and the new Labor government swiftly granted the family bridging visas, allowing them to return to Biloela while they awaited their case to be resolved in court.

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