Qld town fights to save Tamil family

Jacqueline Le

Residents of a country Queensland town fighting to keep a Sri Lankan family in Australia are worried the family could be deported as early as next week after losing an appeal.

Tamils Priya and Nadesalingam and their two Australian-born children lost a bid to stop their deportation at the Federal Circuit Court on Thursday, but the family has 21 days to appeal the ruling.

Family friend and Biloela resident Angela Fredericks said the family were issued deportation notices on Friday afternoon, less than two days into the appeal period.

"The lawyers are working on getting an injunction in place so the appeal process can go ahead," she told AAP on Saturday.

It's understood the family could be deported as early as next week now that they have been given deportation notices.

The family is being detained in a Melbourne immigration detention centre.

"Priya is utterly distraught. She is terrified for the safety of her two beautiful babies," Ms Fredericks said.

Priya and Nadesalingam came to Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013 and settled in Biloela before having their two daughters.

Nadesalingam was getting ready for work at the local meatworks and the children were in bed when Australian Border Force officials came to the house on March 5, giving them 10 minutes to pack.

A week later the family was taken to Perth Airport and put on a plane to deport them to Sri Lanka until last minute legal intervention saw them taken off.

The Biloela community and supporters have rallied around the family, and in May a petition containing about 100,000 signatures calling for their right to stay was delivered to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

Ms Fredericks is urging Mr Dutton to "respect due process" as the family prepares to appeal Thursday's ruling by Federal Circuit Court Judge Caroline Kirton.

The judge dismissed all three grounds of their appeal against the Immigration Assessment Authority's decision not to grant them safe haven visas.