A DIDCOT family has launched an online petition to persuade the Australian government to allow them to emigrate.

Adrian and Julie Scott want to move to Queensland with daughter Niamh, 12, who has severe autism and is deaf.

But the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in Australia has turned down the family’s application for a permanent visa because Niamh’s condition could lead to health care costs for Australian taxpayers.

The family’s application was refused last year and they found out last month that a migration review tribunal had turned down their appeal.

But they are refusing to give up hope of swapping their three-bedroom terrace on Ladygrove for a life in Australia and want 10,000 people to show their support by signing an online petition.

Mr Scott, 47, a former print worker, said mother-in-law Ann Styants, 67, had been living just outside Brisbane for 20 years.

Mr Scott said: “Niamh has been out to Australia about eight times to see her grandmother and she is much calmer when she is out there because there are more wide open spaces.

“We have got a garden here in Ladygrove but my mother-in-law has three-quarters of an acre.

“Niamh can walk but she can’t talk and when she gets agitated she bangs her head on the walls.

“The walls of her bedroom are padded because she has actually put her head through the plasterboard a couple of times.

“Since an Australian news channel ran our story on Monday, September 17, about 1,000 Australian people have signed the online petition. We want 10,000 people to sign as we prepare to ask Australian immigration minister Chris Bowen to intervene.

“There are 1,412 signatures on the online petition and I have been overwhelmed by the support we have already received.”

Mrs Scott, 48, said: “It would be much better for Niamh and the whole family if we were able to move.”

In its refusal letter in September 2011, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said Niamh’s lifelong condition could result in a significant cost to the Australian community, so she did not meet the public interest criterion.

Mr Scott’s 29-year-old sons Stephen and Marc also live in Australia, and Mr and Mrs Scott want to emigrate with Niamh and their 19-year-old son Tevin.

  • To sign the online petition, visit www.ipetitions.com and type in ‘I want to live in Australia but I’m autistic’ into the search engine.