Quadriplegic dad's fight to stay in Australia after tragic beach accident

A Sydney dad may be forced out of the country after becoming a quadriplegic in a tragic beach accident.

Damion Miller snapped his neck and severed his spine on a sandbank at Newport Beach, in Sydney’s north, after diving over a wave.

But he doesn’t qualify for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Nine’s A Current Affair reported.

Mr Miller moved to Australia from New Zealand as a teen. He met his partner, Celeste, and they share a five-year-old daughter, Madison, but the family now fears they’ll be broken up.

An accident at Sydney's Newport Beach has left Damion Miller paralysed from the neck down. Source: A Current Affair/ Nine Network

“The only thing that gets him through the days and nights is watching his little girl grow up and now they’re trying to take that off him,” Celeste told the TV program.

The mum said her partner thought he was a permanent resident as he paid taxes, had Medicare and had worked a full-time job in Australia for a number of years.

Her partner told ACA he had spent his “whole working life in Australia”.

But in hospital, where he was told he had been paralysed from the waist down, Mr Miller was informed his NDIS application had been rejected.

Celeste said they were told “so your only choice is to stay in this hospital or go back to New Zealand to live”.

Mr Miller with his daughter Madison, 5, and partner Celeste. Source: A Current Affair/ Nine Network

Mr Miller was offered a stay in hospital, but only for the duration of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Without the NDIS, he faces missing out on crucial rehabilitation and will be forced to go back to New Zealand. In New Zealand, he has no support network and no one to care for him.

The plan is now for Mr Miller to apply for Australian citizenship and hopefully qualify for the NDIS after Celeste reached out to her federal MP, Jason Falinski.

Mr Falinski says when Mr Miller lodges his application to become an Australian citizen, the MP says “we’ll be standing right next to him to make sure that happens as quickly as possible”.

On Facebook, Celeste urged people to hear Mr Miller’s story.

“Many of you know of Damo’s tragic accident, and now he can’t leave the hospital to get the rehabilitation he needs as he isn’t eligible for the NDIS – a truly heart breaking story, when our world turned upside down after his devastating injury,” she wrote.

“As if that wasn’t enough to deal with and now we have looming over our heads he could be ‘deported’ back to New Zealand where he hasn’t lived since he was a teenager.”

In another post, she wrote: “If Kiwis have lived here and paid tax and the Medicare levy surcharge, which funds the NDIS, they should be eligible if they need access to it.”

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